If you recall, a while back I was working on the creation of an RPG mod, called the StarSeed Project. This is an update on the progress of the project.
The current engine has shifted to the Multiverse client/server middleware. That's right, the focus has shifted from a single-player world to a massively multiplayer one. I've approached some people about the basic structure of the system I had devised, that of a three-stat system that rewards and encourages all methods of play, including granting experience from crafting and adventuring. At the moment, while the final goal is rather ambitious, I'm working to establish the base system and run some tests to ensure that it will work. This will require coding in three languages, and a library of 3D artwork. The resources provided by Multiverse at this point are likely only going to be sufficient for the most basic of alpha testing.
To that end, I'm wondering if someone would like to cola berate with me, either now with the basic Java, Python, and XML code, or later with art resources, character scripting, and world building. If anyone requests it, I will gladly provide an overview of the system as it stands, the ambitions that will with luck be fulfilled, etc.
The basic system and code will also be used for a second game world, this one a fantasy world. This game will feature more roleplaying-oriented abilities, including player-created housing and the like. This world is not projected to have a subscription cost, as the code for it will likely be a testbed for the code of the StarSeed Project. Again, details will be available on request.
Note that until such time as the StarSeed Project starts warranting a subscription price, this WILL all be volunteer work. It's more for the joy of creating something we'd want to play, as well as showing off our creative ability, than anything else.
That is all for now.
PS I'm going to start a new blog under the OneTruePing name, to house this stuff.
I've pretty much determined that the primary addictive aspect in MMOs is purely social. The competitive drive of finishing first, pressure from guilds to play a game in a way you don't like, and even the formation of friends in such games makes them as addictive as they are. Strip away the social aspect, and WoW is every bit as compelling a game as Oblivion, or Neverwinter Nights: a simple roleplaying game with an immersive world.
So a question comes to mind. If it's the social aspect that is addicting, then what does it mean when someone will completely forgo their normal life for the virtual one?
Tue, Jan. 2nd, 2007, 12:07 pm
I'm writing this as a response to the flood of people talking about "feeling clean" and "finding time to do things" after quitting World of Warcraft. This will attempt to bring reason to the side of NOT giving up a pastime.
The area I live is a small city in Pennsylvania. Around here, people talk about only a few things: getting drunk, drunk people, sports, and occasionally, shopping. No matter where you go in this city, this is the norm, with few exceptions. The exceptions? Computer game stores, gaming shops, and the like.
Gaming is a niche market in every location. The large number of gamers are people who stumbled on it as a way to pass time other people used in school to play sports, or do band practice, or otherwise do things they felt inadequate or incapable of. Games, whether in the arcades or at a table with friends, provided a form of escapism, an ability to be things and people you aren't. Whether you were a mighty warrior stemming the tide of evil in a kingdom under siege, or the leader of a nation bringing your people to enlightenment, you were SOMEBODY, a person who was in some way important.
The average gamer follows the line of interest provided in games into a variety of related pursuits, either in style of gameplay (the rpg fanatic or fps god) or in setting (the fantasy nut, the Trekkie). Some go on to read books, paint, create music, all inspired by their games. Others go on to reach unprecedented skill in the games of their choice, whether it be a high score in Pacman, or a world champion in Magic: the Gathering. Some even turn these pursuits into careers.
When the average person gets a regular job, their lives devolve into interests in popular music, hanging out at the bar, and watching TV. Occasionally, a few will go into sports or the like, or simply hang out in a gym to be more fit. Your average gamer, providing he hasn't turned his hobby into a full-time job, is reading, listening to a wide variety of music, pursuing art, poetry, and writing, and generally expanding his experiences. He continues to sit at a table with friends, whether it is to play a tabletop game or to hook up a bunch of computers. He meets people regularly at a game store or bookstore. He might work on elaborate costumes, take up acting, or work on crafting goods that others would willingly purchase, such as suits of armor, or painstakingly detailed statuettes. He keeps busy.
Things get muddled when an MMO hits the scene. Suddenly, there's more people to meet, more stuff to do, something that can be played, ideally, indefinitely. Your everyday person will pick it up, realize how much fun it is to seemingly make a difference with friends, and grow addicted. Your average gamer, however, will spend his time sparingly. There are other pursuits to life which also have their interest, whether it's the regular monthly game, or the painting they worked on. The MMO might color their pursuits, as it can represent a lot of time and effort, but it isn't as supposedly addictive as to someone who hasn't been living this life forever.
Anyone trying something new has one of three reactions. They don't like it, and walk away; they like it, and continue to do it with moderation; or they become addicted hopelessly, pouring endless hours into it's pursuit. People who have had something similar are less likely to become addicted, simply because it is something familiar to them, and presents something that isn't as new. The same thing applies to gamers and games as it does to any other pursuit.
So ask yourself. What kind of person is "coming clean" by quitting their MMO of choice? Is it someone who was addicted to something new, or someone who has done this all before?
Now, if you excuse me, I have some stories to write. Please feel free to comment or quote as you will.
Alright, time for the promised first update. In the interest of a smooth game design, I'm currently focusing on two of the main elements of the game, setting aside the rules modifications and storyline. These two main elements are gunplay, and the capture, containment, and binding of pure spirit creatures. As I'm focusing on one at a time, the first project is to create a mod for Oblivion that introduces believable guns.
From the standpoint of the physics engine, when you fire an arrow in the game, an arrow is spawned from your location, with a certain velocity and mass. The engine translates this into quite believeable arrow flight, complete with the arrow interacting with objects along it's path (or sticking into a body). This makes the actual function of your basic semi-automatic pistol quite easy to simulate.
To make the weapon function properly, you spawn two objects: the bullet, with it's appropriate mass and velocity, exits the barrel and projects downrange; the shell pops up and slightly to one side of the pistol, to land on the ground with a satisfying "clink" sound. Now, we could reasonably produce just the bullet, and it would indeed be easier to do so. However, like the arrows in Oblivion, I want the bullets to be recoverable and, with the right equipment, reusable.
That's the basics of a simple gunshot. However, more goes on behind the scenes. The bullet is made of up to four components, and is combined with empty clips of varying lengths, makes, and calibers to produce the ammunition used in the actual weapon. The weapon itself is made of up to ten different pieces: the base of the weapon, the action, the slide, the grip, the ammunition feed, the barrel, the stock, the on-barrel accessory, the under-barrel accessory, and the over-barrel accessory. This is universal across all fourteen planned weapon types, complete with four major and three minor weapon manufacturers, each with their own interchangeable weapon systems and variations.
My only regret is that I seem to be doing this alone, and frankly, my modeling leaves much to be desired. :P
In other news:
I am delaying this week's Shadowrun game, sadly, due to a birthday LAN and my own stress buildup. The next game will be next weekend.
With the aid of Joseph Fabian, my good friend, I am soon starting a Necromunda campaign. Gangs will fight for control of a board encompassing three levels of a section of the Underhive, each with a five-by-ten grid of territories. Natural choke points will be listed, as will neutral zones and five exterior zones added to the second level for later campaign use. Rules will be adapted for the Diplomacy-style play. Each turn takes one week, in which battles are fought and orders for the next week are compiled and delivered to the referee.
Oh, I have suffered a fairly major hard drive failure in my tower, so I'm stuck using the unreliably-powered laptop for the time being. This means large portions of my work is currently in limbo, awaiting the time that a new drive is acquired to be rescued and culled. Isn't life peachy?
Sun, Apr. 9th, 2006, 01:08 am
You know, in the interest of an open gaming experience, I think I'll restructure this blog to be a continuing game development journal for my stuff. Expect Starseed details coming soon.
Oh, and 11:30 pm on Saturdays, listen to WDUB. My lil sis rocks out with Rivet Riot. Link is WDUB.org
Sun, Apr. 9th, 2006, 12:56 am
Wow, I'm actually writing!
In case you people haven't noticed, I'm not exactly an avid blogger. The reasoning is really simple, I'm really more of a private person. Likes to keep to meself. I guess it partly has to do with my point of view. See, I view blogs as a way for people to rant, rave and air their opinions to gain attention. This has always struck me as rather stupid. Remember that old saying, "Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and they usually stink." Blogs are essentially talk radio, only the people don't get paid (unless they whine for donations).
This brings me to my next point. At work, I've been exposed to a ton of talk radio, being driven hither and thither. This has started to be irritating, for one simple reason. The people actually receive decent, interesting information, then use it to weave a chain of illogical arguments and obvious fallacies to support their own viewpoints, no matter what it might be. Not only that, but in five different shows, five different hosts used the SAME chain of illogic to hammer home the SAME false opinions, gross generalizations, and overzealous stereotypes!
Anyway, the TC for Oblivion is continuing apace. StarSeed will start showing results the minute model import/export becomes possible. In the meantime, I've invested several reams of paper working on the mechanics and design. Two weapon systems, three races, one city, and most of the skills are completed. The world map is finalized. More to come.
All for now, buhbye!
Tue, Jan. 10th, 2006, 12:13 pm
10 reasons Gay Marriage is wrong:
1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Americans have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
So those of you who know me REALLY well know that I am a mecha freak. Yes, I loves me some big robots, folks! Well, I decided to see if the latest iteration of my favorite mecha upgrade for Mechwarrior 4 was released yet... and received a pleasant suprise.
They added battle armor! AND INFANTRY! Nothing to inspire megalomania like stopping helpless (not really) soldiers into the ground in a 100 ton mecha, folks! Oh, and the tally is at somewhere around fifty new units, 90% being mecha. And other new stuff, tho I can't tell, seeing as how it's only about three-fourths finished downloading.
Curse you, tiny progress bar! PROGRESS FASTER!
The following happened after the installation of the patch.
"Sweet mech, decent meck, sweet mech... Behemoth II? What's that? ...
OMG!" -spooge- "I need new pants..."
Here's why... the largest size of a weapon to date is four slots. This has been handily filled with the Heavy Gauss, arguably the strongest weapon in the game at a power of 28, even if it's limited to about 12 shots.
Well... It was. What I saw was the RAIL GUN, a massive 28 ton, 7 slot, 56 damage weapon of epic proportions! The model was properly adjusted as well, meaning THE GUN IS LONGER THAN THE MECH! It is BADASS!
Excuse me, I need to molest some machinery now...
Oh, and apparently a Behemoth can get stuck on infantry instead of squishing them... mob tactics for infantry! Yay!
Wed, Nov. 2nd, 2005, 06:06 pm
So, uh, yeah. Long time, no post. Time to amend that.
I want to announce two projects that have been in the works for a while, and will soon see the light of day. The first is a mod called the StarSeed project. No details for you guys yet, it's kinda secret, but it's going to be a total conversion for Morrowind: Oblivion, involving a science-fiction storyline and modification of the game mechanics.
The second project is a D20 Modern campaign based in the world of Final Fantasy VII. It is going to be faithful to the original material, while adding all new elements to it. Here's the status report:
Races: 90% complete. Four templates need overhauling to reflect their nature in the game.
Occupations: 95% complete. Needs to be made into a master list.
Base classes: 100% complete. Then again, no changes were made.
Advanced classes: 40% complete. Martial Artist class on hold until further notice, details below.
Skills: 95% complete. Master list pending.
Combat skills/combat system: 95% complete. Master list pending.
Feats: 90% done. List needs to be finalized. Some feats need verification of balance.
Martial Arts styles: 75% done. Master list being compiled, pending review; only half of the moves given have their mechanics completed.
Limit Breaks: 50% done. Currently requires use of the BESM rules system, we are exploring alternatives to make this work more independent.
Materia: 33% done. Summon materia are being problematic, due to the theory behind them, other materia pending completion as mechanics are more thoroughly explored.
Weapon/Armor lists: 10% done. Weapon classes finished, specific weapon designs need to be adjusted; additionally, not all weapon types have been added.
Mechanics: 75% done. Pending translation of all status effects.
Monster Manual: 0% done. This is last on our list.
Classic Characters: 0% done.
A progress report and some substance will be uploaded later.
The only other news is that we moved to a new apartment, and wound up in new jobs within a few days of each other. In a few days, she will be an employee at Salli-Mae, complete with benefits and pay-raise. I am currently doing contracting work, which is quite interesting and is definitely giving me insight into good design. More on that later.
In all, good times.