What is/are our goal(s)

Feb 1, 2008 at 11:24 PM
Lets talk about it. We may have differing opinions.
Feb 3, 2008 at 9:06 PM
Right, I guess I will start.

This is based on the emails between Jeremy and me over the past few days. There may well be stuff in here we just can't do, but if we don't put them down and/or try them, then you will never know. I am going to put down what my take is on various elements and hope they kind of tie in with Jeremy's. C&C welcome as ever.

I don't know if any of you guys have played any paper based RPG's but when I used to play them there was one out called GURPS (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/) I kind of liked the idea of this game as it was quite open and you could have a starship owner duking it out with a wizard and his pet dragon. In essence, I would like the game to be without genre, this is a big ask as Jeremy pointed out as getting a good balance for the player will be tough. But then this leads me onto my second point, see next paragraph.

The game should be 100% player driven, that is to say (going back to the first part of this rambling post) if 99.999% of our players decide to start on a 5+ Tech Level area then....so be it, at the end of the day it's there Universe after all, they are paying for it, they are "living" it. I don't think this will be doable at first, we will need to get communities built up so then the areas will be self policing, order kept by the players. I guess at first (we have a notion of "The Empire" a crumbling authority that polices and protects the areas/worlds) the Empire will have to maintain some order, but it would be good to eventually have this driven by the players. This, I think could.would give rise to political systems within groups and other organizational mechanisms. This also is connected with the game economy, this again should be open and self policing, within reason. A world or area owned by a player should be balanced and fair, if it is not then it will not attract other players and so it will collapse socially and so economically, this gives the world/area owner the incentive to create attractive and interesting worlds to pull players and so revenue to there areas.

It would also be good to give the player a mechanism for creating and even inventing there own items. WOW kind of had this feature, but I think it could be taken further. This is an idea that just it my frontal lobes so, not much detail here. I guess this comes under the section of the design doc relating to player controlled areas and player property, players could also patent there inventions and make money from them that way.

Ideas for space travel..... I like space travel in games, some people find it boring and a section that should be by passed with worm holes. Well if you have worm holes why not then have them situated on a planet and run trains through them from one world to the next (like in the books by P.F Hamilton) This would then pretty much kill space travel/combat. So I propose a similar system to what is used in Traveller (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveller_(role-playing_game) another paper RPG); the Jump Drive (JD). As well as sub light drive for space combat we use a jump system, each star ship has a JD, and so a JD value (JV), distances between stars and systems is based up on a number of jumps. So from Earth to Alpha Centauri, lets say it is a Jump 7 trip (J7), we have a basic entry level craft a ship with a JV3, so to get from Earth to Alpha Centauri it is 3 jumps, after each jump the player has to spend a number of minutes re calibrating the JD and navigation systems for the next jump, so leaving time for pirate attacks, mining etc.. A ship carries enough fuel to make a number of jumps, depending on it's design. Again ship design can be another are thrown over to the players and so they could build a really cheep JV6 craft, but it can only do one jump. I have a fair few more ideas on ship designing but wont put them down here yet. We could use both notions of JD and worm holes I guess, have the JD be a mini WH generator and so can only generate a WH for a given distance each time. Also, due to cheep parts, poor fuel (scooping from gas giants) bad engineering or navigational skills each jump carries the risk of a miss jump. Miss Jumps come in a few categories,

  • Jump failure 1 - Jump fails and no fuel is spent.
  • Jump failure - Drive fails to work, but fuel is still spent.
  • Minor miss jump - Drive malfunctions during jump, ship lands n jumps in a random direction from the target location.
  • Major miss jump - Ship lands JV x 5 in random direction.
  • Catastrophic mis jump - Ship blinks out of existance......Player is dead to the rest of the universe, maybe put them in an alternate Universe.

Well, have more crap to spout, but I have work in the morning and it's time for bed, hope you read my ramblings and get what I mean.
Feb 4, 2008 at 9:09 AM
Some interesting ideas there Nemo, from a gamer standpoint, I would have to say that in a game that contains competitive elements, there cannot be total player control, even though I would love it, there are too many issues involved with giving players full control.
If we followed trends and adjusted accordingly, that will work, however player content for one should go through a "signing" process to prevent malicious abuse and cheating, and believe me, there are tons of people out there who would do that given the chance, especially when it comes to gamers.

Your idea of giving rise to political groups can actually be done without giving that much control. A common element of the gaming world is this idea of clans, and for those who don't know, they are groups of gamers who ally together to team up and essentially win. To take an example from EVE Online, a similar game to this. The game represents clans as corporations in the game, since the game is based heavily around an economy and production/fleets, it makes sense, pre-existing and new clans can create a corporation, players join that, and then they get bonuses there, and things like headquarters, which they must police to prevent opposing corporations from attacking and/or conducting espionage.

Here we can allow the clans to setup headquarters/fleets in existing "free" solar systems (meaning not the central 'beginner'/dev controlled systems) and then we can leave them to their own devices, they can fight each other, take over space etc, and also even work as pirate groups, in the PvP areas. The central systems would not be PvP and would be designed for those new to the game to learn without being harassed by larger clans.

Policing themselves in their own areas is fine, however custom-content in an official live MMO universe is either a complete no-no, or is regulated. To prevent abuse, cheating, etc, all additions should be regulated by the developers to ensure there is no malicious intent. To do this, a signing process should be used before additions can become active. There possibly should also be requirements for creating certain types of content, for example, only a clan could make a new type of battleship, we scale the limits so there is still a sense of "realism" and things don't get out of hand.

Your jump-drive idea is common for most modern space games, since most derive their ideas from Elite. Quite often there is both a jump-drive which can be purchased, and a jump gate system for free jumping between systems, after all, players want to fly around in areas with content, and its a huge distance between the outer edge of our solar system and the next nearest one. Solar systems are big enough for sub-space travel, and the jump drive can allow for fast travel from anywhere to anywhere (in space, not near sources of gravity etc - hyperspace-like), however jump gates, although free, are only in certain locations. (eg. near the main planet etc)
I personally like the idea used in Battlestar Galactica (new series at least) where they have a Faster Than Light (FTL) drive which matches your idea in a sense, it has a max range, it uses fuel, and it takes time to "spool up". (essentially recharge/cool down)
Feb 4, 2008 at 9:46 AM
Edited Feb 4, 2008 at 9:48 AM
I agree with the signage of new content, especially for items that would influence the rest of the Universe, but I think for the most part this would not be necessary if the content is for that area and that area only. We have spoke before about cheating and Jeremy has covered it to some degree in his outline document, and we really need to get clear on how we are going to manage and control it as if it gets out of hand it will kill the game.

But as a goal I think, in the most part, we should aim for open content. I am probably being naive, but I think the majority of that can be controlled by the game mechanism..... I just have to think of it :P

"Clans" will be the way to go, as this is how social groups are formed, BUT I would like each clan (I guess this will be the best term to use for groups, corporations, religions, factions etc..) to have an ideology, or a purpose of some sort, so if it is a corporations, it wants to get as big a stake in the markets as it can and make money for the shareholders. If it is a religious group then I would like it to have doctrine, if it is a faction it must have rules of engagement with it's enemies (The Empire) or what ever. They just can't be a clan, they must have purpose, reason and a background.

I guess the Empire could be strong in the inner worlds (starting worlds) and have strong orbital presences on very low tech starter worlds, the low techs would not know the Empire are there until they discovered space flight etc.. And if by some chance a clan raised enough people and resource to take a low tech world then this would be short lived as the Empire would just keep plugging resources into removing them, and would give rise to some pretty cool Universal news :)

Forgot to add, a player will only have FULL cotrol over an area if they purchase the right to an area (pay us andditional subscription for the software to host there own area). I guess Jeremy will be able to explain this better than me.
Feb 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM
In reference to your edit on full control of player purchased areas, you need to tone that down. A larger amount of control, sure. However to provide full control in an MMO with a global economy, provides too much of a chance for exploitation, and the argument that people won't pay to cheat, well is proven wrong by the people who buy ingame gold in WoW with real money.
We need to define full control at least. Nothing like a "debug" menu for their area, nothing that gives them the ability to exploit the system, however they get full rights to police the area and have official ownership, we could even place these purchased areas closer to the core so that they can use Empire security if they need to, as a bonus for paying. They will be able to gain increased trade and it will be a shorter distance to travel to the core.
They won't have any sort of "admin" privileges, however they will be able to create extra rules/laws for their area that will be legally enforceable.(Meaning no action taken by GMs if they commit actions which are normally not permitted.

A note on your clan aspects, I can agree, although that can be too much to ask of players. If they want to establish their own goals, sure, they will do that, however simply making them choose between corporation, political group, pirates etc should cover enough of the ideology.
I however do not think there should be player run religions. Religions cause too much shit in real life already, let alone adding that to a game in an active role. I think choosing between corporation, political party, pirates, and mercenary groups should be enough and should cover most of it. All of those have economic and military goals, all interlink with each other in some way, and all cover the "good/bad" alignment aspect.

I need to read the latest version of the design doc before I can add more, but this should be enough for now. We need to think about the tech behind this though, game ideas are great, but the tech and code for at least the basic framework for these things should be worked on.
Got to do the core before going elaborate.
Feb 4, 2008 at 1:46 PM
I agree totally mate. I am just discussing goals here, and as such some of them may well be unachievable, but if I don't put them down they will niggle the hell out of me, if you get what I mean.

As to a definition of full control, we wont have that until there is a framework in place, and that goes for 99.99% of what is on this board at the moment.

I guess the base starting point should be at the very least a MUD, so we then have a base mechanism down, then we can apply and append as we go deeper into design.

You are probably right about the religion thing, I guess being a none believer of my age I think all players would think like me.....what an evil place this wold would be if they did lol. I guess what I was trying to say was that a "clan" can me any type of group of people that have a common goal. That goal could be just to help out others in that "clan" and so not have to have a strict code of practice or ideology.

This is such a MASSIVE project, it is pretty much all blue sky at the moment. We are just talking about game schematics at the moment, I have just started the initial design of the client and to be honest that in it's self is going to be a job and a half :P
Feb 4, 2008 at 2:42 PM
With regard to the economy. I think I can nail that one. read the economy server section of htat design doc again. The economy is something I am very passionate about in games. I think most MMOGs have failed miserably in this area. There will be controls in place even in remote worlds to keep players in check.

As for the mud Idea That is exactly where we are starting. to a point remind me to send you the code for my first C# app later :p most heople have hello world I did a mud rofl(lookup the project under IDVUGDA here on codeplex( Irving DeVry University Game Developers Association before you ask wtf is IDVUGDA :p). As for the design I don't whole heartedly agree that we should start with a mud.

I think we should follow a more traditional path and write a design document. first a non-technical for the Client and the Server, then a technical one for both as well. This is how most game companies do it, and it works very wess. The technical document serves several purposes. Mostly it is a good place to get your research done, and it gives you somewhere to start. If something in the technical design is found to be inplausible, or unrealistic the section governing that feature can be deleted, modified, or undated as needed. I think that this process is overlooked as in our jobs we have to do this. When we program a personal project it is easy to overlook this step when we are the only person working on a project, however, this is a MASSIVE project and we cannot afford to have anything we havnt all thought through and debated.

The tech is being worked on. if you get a dump of the project you will see a solution folder for documentation. I have been working on a tech design as I go. I will go into it a lot more as we move forward. When I am done with my vision I will give it to you guys to critique, and we will make changes from there. I am one of those guys that wont write a line of code until all of the details are worked out :p. Anyway I am estimating 2 years for a feature complete beta.. so you are right aboug this being a massive project.

Religion will be a central part of low tech worlds. As human history has shown as we get more and more high tech our religions change, but the belief in something bigger has been a central theme in our world for a long time. Religion is a good tool we could use on low tech worlds to initiate quests, grant magic, etc. Though player run religions sound good it would be too complex to implement from a programming standpoint also they would be false religions as im not coding in every crackpots idea for a god ;).

Just as a side note I think our skills as programmers are at a level where we really do not need to do a MUD per say. We have all done 3D work, and can code one feature at a time. I do think we should start with the basics of all MMOGs. Logging in movement in a 3d world(with multiple clients present) and communication. We do not need to know the layout of the world(s) to get these working in fact if we start with the thought that we want these processes to be generic and reusable then all the better. I think that once we start implementing features(at least primitive and unoptimized versions of the features) we will have a better idea of where we need to concentrate. We wont be writing code that works the first time(mainly because none of us has written an MMOG before so we really dont know what common mistakes we will be making) or that is optimized ruight off(heck I dont even know what to do to optimize the comms yet)

The mud would be great for designing the worlds, however I ran into this before when we were working on IDVUGDA MUD. We were using that as a springboard to a 2d then eventually a 3d game. There is far too much code that cannot be reused. if you think about it a MUD would have nothing in common with a 3D client with regard to movement. About the only thing we could develop is a login system, chat, and the world. We would get so caught up in developing what equates to a really cool telnet server and client and forget our goal :) anyway thats my two cents.

ok wow that is a lot longer than I thought it would be ill do more later.

I think we do need to get a doc out with at least a feature list(it need not explain how the features work). There is one for the Servers. They need work, and we will need to think about signing content to keep things kosher in the universe as a whole. Anyway later.
Feb 4, 2008 at 2:58 PM
MUD by definition is a Multi User Domain/Dungeon, a MUD does not have to be text based, I did not mean a pure text based MUD, sorry to confuse you :P

Though to be honest, when switching from MUD to full game if we write both ends well enough it should be a module switch and a few mods as at the end of the day we are sending coordinates and states up and down the pipe the server and client then interpret these and do what they need to do. Anyway, don't want to get caught up in this, I am kind of arguing with my self now lol...

Player religions are probably a bad idea, but for low tech then we can create some base gods for them to use. But then saying that I would like this to be mixed genre, so the gods would apply up and down the Tech scale, naturally you don't have to believe and so get better tech bonuses as other wise you would be out weighed by your hi-tech devout counterpart. Oh, and can we not limit it to just gods if we are going to have them in this, you have to have demons too, but then I guess one mans god is another mans demon...Dogma eh....

And yes, we need strong documentation :P
Feb 5, 2008 at 1:15 AM
My opinions/views/ideas are based upon my experiences as a member of what could be described as the "New Game" team in one of the largest clans out there. Our goal was to find new games for the clan to expand into, and then gather interest and new recruits for that game so that it would surpass the minimum number of players required to become an officially supported game. So I know which games have passed and failed, and what those gamers liked/disliked out of them. That is what I am basing my thoughts on.

You have to be very very careful when mixing fantasy and sci-fi for this, Shadowrun tried to do it and their game failed to the point that they went bankrupt. It's a risky aspect because gamers like innovative things, but if you mess with existing genres and don't pull it off right, you can fail miserably. So technically it is hard to make innovation and change in the game world because even though they like it, the standard is high.

Well with religion for the low-tech worlds, ensure it has absolutely no roots in any modern day religions whatsoever.
Although my question is now, how is the low-tech worlds compared to the high tech worlds balanced out? What is the incentive to start as a low-tech player? Also how are you going to allow low-tech players to tech-up whilst still maintaining the same low-tech experience for new low-tech players? If you do include religion, it cannot be a key point, just a small part of perhaps the backstory. All those MMOs out today only have religion as a part of the backstory of the world, they do not include it as a key component. (Except for Runescape, but there the theme is pretty much a world just like our own in old times.

Has the tech document got a method for downloading new content to the client?
This is where I become weary of using XNA. simply because the requirement of XACT is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much in the file size department to cover content transfers and small downloads. Also the requirement to put stuff into a wave bank that is compiled means you cannot do incremental patches for the audio. As much as the idea and functionality of XACT is great, there is a terrible let down, especially for the Windows platform.
Feb 5, 2008 at 6:30 AM
You have to be very very careful when mixing fantasy and sci-fi for this, Shadowrun tried to do it and their game failed to the point that they went bankrupt. It's a risky aspect because gamers like innovative things, but if you mess with existing genres and don't pull it off right, you can fail miserably. So technically it is hard to make innovation and change in the game world because even though they like it, the standard is high.

I agree on the general principal. If we do not do it right the game will fail horribly. Mixing genres isn't done because issues with game balance make it very difficult to implement. However, I believe that is is an achievable goal. We need to design our base classes so we can get some details. However lets start with the following scenario. Let's say that we have a level 1 Sniper from a world with futureistic weaponry, and a level 1 Archer from a fantasy world. The level one sniper uses an energy rifle with a range of 1000m(this is easily achieved today) the bow on the other hand has a range of ~250m. Though the range on the archer with an unaugmented bow is less the archer can call upon his gods power to extend the range of his shot(magic) or use a skill his father taught him(a class skill) to increase the range of his shot. granted the range would only double, but he moves a lot faster than any modern man not used to the dense environment of his world(lets say he can move at a rate of 10m/s(Michael Johnson speeds). he could overtake the sci-fi sniper(who is only good at long range(a mage of sorts) in 5 seconds. We have game balance issues like this even if we only go sci-fi or fantasy. The problem is explaining how stuff works in terms that are acceptable in both genres. From the scifi side the sniper recognizes that the archers arrow was given a boost in speed. The fantasy archer sees the Laser packing sci-fi sniper as a powerful user of magic, and realizes that the magic takes a while to "cast" I dont know if this is a good example, but it is how we could explain things.

Has the tech document got a method for downloading new content to the client?

Not yet, but we were talking about a content server of sorts dedicated to the task..

This is where I become weary of using XNA. simply because the requirement of XACT is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much in the file size department to cover content transfers and small downloads. Also the requirement to put stuff into a wave bank that is compiled means you cannot do incremental patches for the audio. As much as the idea and functionality of XACT is great, there is a terrible let down, especially for the Windows platform.

I thought that you could now have multiple wave banks. Each area having its own would keep the size of the wave bank down, and allow for any added content to be streamed to the client efficiently. I honestly dont know a lot about sound. I have not implemented it into any of my projects yet at all. If we cannot seperate the sounds out like that then yes it is a serious limitation on what we can do as downloading a massive wave file every few weeks would get tedious. If you guys want I would not be against using straight DirectX, but I will leave that decision up to you. It will not really affect the server side of things much at this point. I am using C# because it allows for rapid development. If we find that C# isnt fast enough I will switch to C++. There are other advantages though. We could use things like the PhysX API if we werent using a managed language. However there is a downside to using C++. The development time will be significantly longer. Due to the small team XNA provides a nice boost in productivity. We could always use XNA as a way to prototype the game and use C++ if we decide to actually go public with it(which would require an infusion of external cash I have no illusions about that)

Lets talk about it do we want to use XNA? I say yes even if we have to can user content for now. It will let us develop a working prototype much faster, though probably not as feature rich as we would like. But lets talk about it now while we have 0 code instead of 6 months from now when we have a half a million lines of code(or more)
Feb 5, 2008 at 7:31 AM
XNA does allow extra wave banks now, but there is still a limit on that, and there is no ability to send over just single audio files. For example, say we patch in a new weapon, this weapon maybe has a new sound, that is a single sound file that needs to be added, now that may be a 100kb mp3, yet if we have to send the entire "weapons" wave bank, that means megabytes of data needs to be added to the patch, and so the only solution would be to binary patch, but that means we need to enforce versions of the file specifically.

An idea though, maybe, since this is not Xbox at all, we make use of another sound library, there should be managed wrappers/ports of OpenAL and at worst we should be able to integrate DirectSound (I don't want to do that, it is actually changed in Vista and isn't too good for future-proofing)

A note in PhysX, well 2 actually. Firstly, there is a managed wrapper out there, however there is no incentive to using that over something like JigLibX. Secondly, PhysX has licensing fees for commercial games, and is entering an unknown state as Nvidia buys it. If you are fine for licensing, then rather look at Havok, which not only has animation benefits alongside the physics, but also looks to be in the process of being ported.

One never prototypes a game in C# and then goes to C++, its a major change that will set back development for a long time since everything will need to be written from scratch, especially with XNA being still pretty different to DirectX in how things are done.
There are a couple of alternatives. The Tao framework offers OpenGL in C#, there is SlimDX which offers mostly complete DX9/10 wrapping, with input sorta done and audio being started. There is a managed wrapper for D3D9/10/10.1 which was also used by Nvidia for FXComposer, and thats all that I know of. Those can be combined with many managed audio libraries, and they also have no licensing restrictions.

Speed-wise, C# is barely slower than C+, and will not cause an issue at all, unless we code in a terribly unoptimized way and do not test properly, but that would cause terrible performance in C+ as well.
Feb 5, 2008 at 8:47 AM
I agree with XACT and was planning on using DirectSound, but if that sux will have to take another route.

As far as the client downloading content, I was going to propose (it is in my initial client doc) a secondary assembly that can be called by the client when a player gets within possible transition rage to an area. The client checks it's contents for the areas in question, if it does not have the content for it then it makes a request to the content client binary to get the area content, if it already has it then it makes an update request. Once the content client gets a request it goes to the content server asking for the areas data, if it is a new are it does a full get, if it already has it then sends a list of what it has and then receives what is needed (if anything), at the same time the player is still playing the game, if he gets to an area transition before ALL the content has arrived, then they will have to be given a loading screen. I know there are flaws in there so if you have better ideas I would love to hear them, Jeremy mentioned that he would like use a torrent system like WOW, but I don't know if the initial player base will be enough for this.

As this is such a long project, I was kind of hoping we would write our own physics for it as with the rest, I do hate to use third party dev stuff. As we are in no rush I can't see this being a problem. Again, if I am talking arese, let me know :)

As far as C# or C++, I would prefer C#/XNA as my knowledge base is there, I know C/C++ but as far as DirectX goes I don't have a clue. Sorry to be a noob. If we take the C++ route then I don't know if I will be of much use for a long time as my learning curve will be high. I guess I can help out with shaders and the like, maybe some content, but you would have to count me out of the code for a while..
Feb 5, 2008 at 9:29 AM
its funny that + is a markup tag on a programming site :p

As for physics :) be my guest mate :p Physics are fun to code, but a bit difficult if you want a lot of physics(IE parts falling off your ship etc...). I wont be on much today as I didnt sleep but 2 hours yesterday(switching shifts sucks). I will catch you guys tomorrow though.

A torrent approach would be the most scalable solution. Even if the user base isnt big enough in the beginning it would grow, and in a traditional system the more growth the slower the downloads. In a torrent system the more growth you have the faster the content downloads would become. besides we could always have one of our systems host all of the updates and use it to distribute as well. The onlt thing is I am clueless on torrent, and have no idea how to even begin implementing it.
Feb 5, 2008 at 10:18 AM
Neither do I, guess that is one for the pot.....

One thing that used to annoy me with WOW was the constant updates, having to wait for it all to dld before you can get in the game. Yet another aspect of this mammoth to think about.

Have been playing with physics a bit, so will continue to play with it and try and get you guys a demo of what I have.

The + thing is annoying, may start using Cpp instead...
Feb 5, 2008 at 11:30 AM
A better approach to torrents is to make use of the many many many gaming file websites out there to spread the load. For one thing, many ISPs are starting to block or interfere with torrent systems in an attempt to prevent piracy.
I think, rather make use of the many many game file sites out there, and try and keep the size/number of patches down.

Physics, well if you must, then fine, I still don't think its a good idea considering the scope you guys are trying to put into this game, but if you want to, i'm not gonna stop you. Just need to remind you that i'm not working on this full time, I am starting uni this year and its a lot of maths in the first year for us, so I do not know how much I can contribute, not counting my own personal projects.
Feb 6, 2008 at 9:05 AM
So, if we drop the mixed genre, what would be prefered, personaly I would go for the Sci-Fi.
Feb 6, 2008 at 9:57 AM
I would also prefer Sci-Fi, it also covers the sci-fi free-roam game I/Dave want to make.
Feb 6, 2008 at 10:14 AM
Yes, I think we have all discussed this with each other in different ways, it is a very tempting thing to attempt. Looks like we have the opportunity now. Also as the current working title for the game is 'Universe' then I guess this should be the first pick genre.

Would anyone object to me starting a game mechanics document. This would basically cover player stats, skills etc.. how they interact with the world around them, a combat system for both space and ground, tech tree for varying tech levels (I guess the base tech level would be a planet that has just discovered FTL travel, but like the Star Trek TV series about the first Enterprise, forget what it was called, probably 'Enterprise') and all that good stuff. Once we have a paper game system, like any other paper RPG then we can build and design the base classes from that to represent players and objects in the world.

Actually I am going to start a thread on this now, so we can then discuss what we want from the system, for example, I would like to avoid classes and professions, but then you guys might have a valid argument why we should have them etc...
Feb 6, 2008 at 10:43 AM
We could post these documents on one of the collaborative editing websites out there, either Google Docs or another one, and share them between ourselves so that we can all make changes and view it when we need.
(Google Docs offers saving to PDF/Doc as well as HTML Publish, and works with any current Google account, if its going on there, you can share with my google account: heavybomber190)
Feb 7, 2008 at 6:53 AM
I will checkout Google docs, but I am thinking of springing for a hosted SharePoint solution, as it is a lot more flexible. Besides an internal discussion board would make me a bit more comfortable(BTW the only reason I didn't do a hosted TFS system is it costs several hundred a month :p)
Nov 13, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Hey guys, I might be able to help out some. I happen to have a hosted webspace, that I am already paying for, that is, for the most part unused. I would gladly donate some space for you guys. At least it would give you some nice free space to work, upload project files and what not. It's not as good for colabrative writing as googlepages, but used in conjunction it would give you a nice base of operations. Just let me know.


Also, I have been reading through your posts here and saw some things that I was turning over in my mind for use in a mud when I was still developing it. Not sure what my 2cp is worth, but there are ways to have both Sci-FI and High Fantasy in the same game without having too many problems. One, if you are thinking of doing a space based game, then you are by default going to have different worlds. If you have different worlds, then you are opening your self up to different physics on each planet. Easily handled, and also extraordinarily handy for your situation.  I.E.


Tag the planets according to size, density, and distance from the nearest 'star'. If you are coding your own physics you can use that to adjust for movement rates and ballistics. You can also add in a certain 'element' that negates or allows magic, negates or allows energy weapons, or has some detrimental or amplifying attribute to them. 

In one of the post you stated an example of a sniper and an archer. In this case, if the sniper visited the archers planet, and uses an energy weapon, you can balance combat in the following ways:


Compare the gravity of the snipers home planet, retrieved from his character object, to the gravity of the host world, modified slightly by the amount of time in space (muscle atrophy), and modify the snipers movement speed accordingly. The Archer, having grew up on the planet, and not having been off world would have a standard, unmodified, movement speed on the host planet. 

If the planet is a Magic Type planet, you can apply an anti-tech penalty to the sniper, either the energy source for his weapon drains faster, the 'bullet' travels less distance, or the damage is reduced. 

Also, you can apply a rate of fire to the weapons, with a built in reload timer. 

Another interesting possibility is a form of Home Court Advantage. On the character object, have a list of planets visited, and a time on planet variable that updates every tick/second or whatever time type you use. Thus, a person who has spent more time on a particular planet, or particular type of planet, would have a slight advantage in combat over a newcomer, ascribed to familiarity with the terrain, cover types etc.

If you are creative you will be able to balance the game in ways that are completely legitimate, at least in the eyes of the player. And, if you are really feeling cheeky, take a clue from Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcanum:_Of_Steamworks_and_Magick_Obscura where they created a balancing act between tech and magic. If the amount of tech was greater than magik, then it became harder to use magic, and vice versa. Applying a system like that to both planets and characters would allow for a truly dynamic balance between tech and fantasy that is ultimately player controlled, and able to be CHANGED by the players through their actions. i.e.

Planet X is young planet, low tech level (1), high magic level world(100). Planet Y is exactly opposite(100,1). Settlers from planet Y come to planet X, like the coffee, and decide to stay a while, bringing their new fangled coffee pot and other gadgetry available. Over time, more and more people stop by for coffee, and decide to stay for a while. Slowly, the the balance begins swing (50,50) Tech and magic are both equally usable, and equally limited. People convert from the magic side over to the tech side, except for a small group of resisters, (75,25). The resistance overthrows the tech syndicate, (60,40) and changing. etc etc


Anyway.. just a thought.. drop me a line if you are interested/willing to let me help out. 





Jan 24, 2011 at 4:15 AM

Hi all, I realize that this project is probably stale (last post being over a year ago) but I wanted to see if anyone was still up to start work on this.

Jan 24, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Yes, this one has pretty much stopped, but the want to do it has not. 

I think most of us are off on other things at the moment, but I would be interested in keeping it going :) time willing...

Jan 25, 2011 at 1:44 AM

If you're interested then I think we can start looking at the options here.


Some things that you need to know about me;

  • I'm a coder, I have no opinions about the game mechanics, I love to program and I love the challenges that it presents.
  • I can program in any language that you might want; however I do have opinions on what should be used.
  • I currently program in C on Unix and don't mind going with anything of the sort.

Some ideas to consider that we would need to discuss.

  • Daarknes stated that he has rackspace, if he's still in the project we'd need to find out what system his rackspace is on (Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac OSX) as this will most likely dictate what language can be used for the server.
  • What is the target audience (Windows games, XBox 360, Cross Platform (Windows/Unix)) this will dictate what language can be used for the client.
  • What is the target scalable size (100 players, 500 players, 5000 players, etc...).
  • Producing a separate login server (you wouldn't want the authentication and login to occur on the same server).
  • How do you want the underlying storage system to work; if database what database to use (PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, DB2).
  • Who will be doing QA for the server/client (although most of the server can be automated, the client not so much).

So for many of these conversations I think you should probably create some more discussions (I'll create some of these) to discuss the pros and cons and come to a decision on these.  Of course, there will be many other questions but these are some of the more basic options that need to be considered to really start discussing the system.

Feb 6, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Would you guys consider adding me as a developer?  I'd like to work on this project with you guys.