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The first step of many...
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Wolfsong73 Offline
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Post: #1
The first step of many...
Hi all,

New-ish poster here on the Esenthel forums.

Like many others here, no doubt, I'm an aspiring game designer/developer working on very early groundwork for a large-scale RPG project; a MMO to be specific. Mind you, though, I'm not looking to cater to millions of people. I'm not looking to face down WoW. Heck, I'm not even intending to be in the same city, much less the same ballpark.

Rather, I'm hoping to create an experience that will hearken back to the first and second gen MMOs, where it was more about existing and adventuring in a virtual world. In that way, I know this project will cater very much to a "niche" portion of the MMO community. That's fine by me, as I consider myself part of that niche.

In my own opinion, as a gamer, newer MMOs have been moving away from the RP part of being RPGs, and are becoming merely games.

The tool of choice for this project will of course be Esenthel. I've been working with the tools, have downloaded and played the test demos and am really, really impressed with everything about it.

While this of course is starting out as a part-time project, since I have a day job, etc... My goal is to pursue funding once a solid prototype has been made that really demonstrates what the game is, what it will look and play like, what some of its core features are, etc. Something solid and playable that can be presented. Once that goal is reached, then I believe a serious effort can be made in getting investment money coming in, so the team I would be working with at that time can really dig in and do it full-time.

That's the goal, anyway smile.

In the meantime, I have a lot of work to do on my own... creating the world, the lore, designing a world map (which is proving quite daunting), and so on. I have a lot of the core design concepts worked out, but it's all jotted down in notebooks, scraps of paper I had handy while at work, or out somewhere (inspiration tends to show up at the most inconvenient times lol).

My immediate goal in terms of creating a prototype is to create something that can get others interested, perhaps, in teaming up. So, I've begun creating assets for what will eventually become part of one of the starter areas in the game; a moderate sized town nestled in a coastal woodland, inhabited by people renowned for their skill with a fishing pole or a set of carpentry tools.

As a player-driven market system is going to one major aspect of the game, I decided to start with those particular elements. There's a small market stand which is currently set up with "placeholder" textures, and a medium size stand which is still in the modeling stage. A large stand as well as a full stand-alone store will be added to the market mix, among various other things.

In trying to keep this project as low/no budget as possible, I'm using mostly open source applications... Blender3D for modeling, GIMP for texturing, etc. The engine license itself is likely one of the only things there will be any actual cost for.... at least until full development begins and more expenses enter the picture. Even then, though, the goal is to keep this as "grass roots" and indie a project as possible.

Anyway... here's a couple shots of my works in progress. They may and, likely, will change over time. I'll post more as things are coming together...

[Image: MerchantStand_TestRender.png]
This is a test render of the mostly "completed" small market stand. The sign remains untextured since I'm not happy with it; it's being replaced. To see it in "proper context", I decided to create a bit of a "backdrop" resembling where it will be in the actual game. So I threw together a quick terrain with a simple duplicated boulder scattered around. All modeling and texture work in the shot is mine.

[Image: MerchMed_InProgress.png]
And this one is the work-in-progress of the medium sized stand. I'm going to be replacing those curly bits with flat polys, texture mapped with a similar design. As is, they add far too much useless geometry to the model relative to their importance/function. I can make the textured version look better anyway lol

So... That's it for now. I'll be posting more as I make progress...

Thanks for reading/looking!
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 03:55 AM by Wolfsong73.)
03-02-2011 03:44 AM
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Voc007 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The first step of many...
Great start , keep it up. I am currently in the same boat as you, start small, and stay small, least for while. i am also using Blender, GIMP and MYPaint in Linux, then boot into Windows and import them in Model. Keep up the modeling and texturing, I think the hardest is the UV Mapping.
03-02-2011 03:55 AM
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Wolfsong73 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: The first step of many...
(03-02-2011 03:55 AM)Voc007 Wrote:  Great start , keep it up. I am currently in the same boat as you, start small, and stay small, least for while. i am also using Blender, GIMP and MYPaint in Linux, then boot into Windows and import them in Model. Keep up the modeling and texturing, I think the hardest is the UV Mapping.

Thanks!

Indeed. The modeling part is mostly pretty straight-forward. Believe it or not, the toughest part of the smaller stand was the canopy lol. Not the texturing part (that was actually straight-forward), but getting the stupid thing modeled to follow the contours of the structure beneath it properly.

The thing that stinks about it is that I have so much documentation to do, and a lot of work on the world map to do... and neither of those is quite as satisfying as modeling. Why can't people just read my mind and by-pass all this irksome "typing" stuff? XD

Also, I've worked with a start-up team before - on an earlier (and much smaller) iteration of the same project I'm working on now. Made a number of mistakes on that go around, including jumping in too soon in putting a team together, and it ultimately went nowhere. I am thinking it would be nice to have someone else to help with concept art (I suck at drawing) and to bounce ideas off of and brain-storm. It's nice to have that sort of "autonomy", but an objective point-of-view is also helpful.

I'm debating if I should try to find someone genuinely interested in pursuing something like this in that capacity; someone who's serious about it (ie. not just doing it 'cause it's 'cool' or whatever). We shall see.
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 04:16 AM by Wolfsong73.)
03-02-2011 04:10 AM
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Salival Offline
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Post: #4
RE: The first step of many...
1) Do you have any programming skills at all?
2) MMORPG == Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
3) And you probably know that the mmorpg is the hardest kind of game creation?

I'm not saying it is impossible, aim for your goals and if you do not reach your goal, you will still get knowledge on the way.

Good luck! smile
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 08:54 AM by Salival.)
03-02-2011 08:52 AM
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Wolfsong73 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: The first step of many...
(03-02-2011 08:52 AM)Salival Wrote:  1) Do you have any programming skills at all?
2) MMORPG == Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
3) And you probably know that the mmorpg is the hardest kind of game creation?

I'm not saying it is impossible, aim for your goals and if you do not reach your goal, you will still get knowledge on the way.

Good luck! smile

1) No I don't possess any programming skills. I'm a 2D/3D graphics designer. Luckily for me, I'm aware there are people in the world who are programmers, and would be able to handle that aspect of it. That's the beauty of having a team - you have multiple people skilled at specialized tasks.

2) Thank you. I'm aware of that. A forum poster you don't know from Adam =/= "someone needing an education in terminology".

3) Yes, I am aware that MMORPGs are considered among the most difficult type of software to create. I've done my research, have books on the subject that I've been reading, have read myriad articles and so on. This also isn't my first foray into game design/development and I already have the lessons learned of my past efforts to draw from.

But I'll say this.. even if I didn't have all those resources, I would certainly be aware of it from people like yourself who feel it necessary to bomb every thread by people who even so much as mention interest in it with unsolicited posts such as yours; the typical "Oh.... you know how difficult MMOs are?" post. At least yours doesn't outright say "you'll fail". And you wrapped it in a pretty silver lining... so that's a step above the norm at least.

See... here's the counter to that though.

There's this little game called Runescape. That game was started as a student project. I'm sure they were facing all the same challenges that any other indie company does when starting on it. Look where that game is now. Hugely successful.

The creators of Fallen Earth, as I understand, had no previous MMORPG experience either. That didn't stop them from going on to create one.

There are myriad indie-developed MMOs out there, even if they don't have 100s of thousands of players, who were all designed and developed by people who had no previous experience working on them.. all of them are running, and some of them are even making their creators money. Most importantly, they are populated by people who appreciate and enjoy playing them.

Every one of those teams faced the same challenges starting out as anyone else does starting out. The difference is, they didn't let the challenges stop them from trying and persevering. They didn't just throw their hands up and say "Oh, forget it. It's too difficult. No point in even trying". Not to sound like a fortune cookie, but the the best way to guarantee failure at something is to not try in the first place.

Yes, I go into this project fully knowing it's a mammoth endeavor. Yes, I go into this project fully knowing that I do not singularly possess all the skills to do everything - nor would I ever intend to (which is kinda why I mention assembling a team in my first post). Yes I know it can take years to get completed. And, yes, I'm aware that it could end up for naught.

Regardless, it's something I'm very driven to do and, so, if it's all the same to you, I'd much appreciate it if you, and those like yourself, could spare the posts like your own. Appreciate it. I started this thread to sorta informally "announce" my project, and share a couple samples of early prototype work, and maybe get some feedback about the work itself. I don't recall asking people to "educate" me on what MMORPG stands for, or how much work it is to create one.

If I come across as snarky, well, I am; for good reason. Because that's how your post came across; particularly the "MMORPG ==" bit. I'm 37 years old. I'm not a 10 year-old slinging around terminology I don't understand. What I don't understand, however, is why there are people who, like yourself, feel compelled to go into threads posted by people indicating an interest in working on a game - MMO or otherwise - and hit them with posts such as your own. Are you people trying to demoralize them?

How about something more positive, like suggesting some good resources that could help them along? Link to some good books, forum threads or the such where people who have "been there/done that" share some insight to help others prevent mistakes they made?

If it's too much for people to get into, and they're taking on more than they are prepared to handle, they'll find out on their own eventually, right? And since it is, indeed, a learning experience as you state, then it's not all for nothing - so long as they learn from it, right? No better experience than first-hand. And the only way to guarantee it'll never be done is to never even try in the first place. If someone wants it bad enough, and is determined enough to make it happen... they'll do what it takes to make it happen.

I wonder how many people have been put off from even *trying* because of posts like yours.

In closing, if you have some questions about the game itself, or perhaps some feedback on the samples I've shown... by all means, share them. If all you're here to do is rain on someone else's parade or "plant seeds of doubt" in them, I'd prefer if you just moved on. Thank you.
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 02:21 PM by Wolfsong73.)
03-02-2011 01:39 PM
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Voc007 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: The first step of many...
Well said Wolfsong73, just like Disney said "Keep moving forward".

Man I thought I was the only old man here, I am 40.

Best luck to you on your future. Hope to see more of your work.
03-02-2011 06:57 PM
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Tottel Offline
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Post: #7
RE: The first step of many...
A good motivation goes a long way, which you seem to have. smile
Good luck with your project.

P.S. Blender 2.5x is pretty good. pfft
03-02-2011 07:43 PM
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Salival Offline
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Post: #8
RE: The first step of many...
I can see you took my words really bad and it was no spam or offence agains you whatsoever. I talk through 7 years of game programming knowledge and number of projects I have seen in all the years. 98% of all MMORPGs created Fails. Eternal land was made by a guy and his wife, this is impressive. And I said absolutely nothing about that it is impossible to create one with a small team, If you have the right team and knowledge you can success. Not saying you should stop your dream. What I'm saying is that if you have not made any game before then my advice is to start small. Just to create a real MMORPG network layer is a huge huge work.
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 08:47 PM by Salival.)
03-02-2011 08:46 PM
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Wolfsong73 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: The first step of many...
(03-02-2011 08:46 PM)Salival Wrote:  I can see you took my words really bad and it was no spam or offence agains you whatsoever. I talk through 7 years of game programming knowledge and number of projects I have seen in all the years. 98% of all MMORPGs created Fails. Eternal land was made by a guy and his wife, this is impressive. And I said absolutely nothing about that it is impossible to create one with a small team, If you have the right team and knowledge you can success. Not saying you should stop your dream. What I'm saying is that if you have not made any game before then my advice is to start small. Just to create a real MMORPG network layer is a huge huge work.

Understood. I did come across perhaps a bit more harsh than I should have. I've just seen so many people told "don't bother, you'll never succeed" when they're clearly enthusiastic, or at least interested in pursuing something. It just - pardon my french - pisses me off how easily people can stomp on other people's dreams and goals. If someone feels they want to create the worlds first 1-to-1 scale Earth simulator - I don't care how huge the project is or how unlikely success is - I say go for it! If nothing else, it would be a huge learning experience and anyone working on it would only benefit from knowledge gained. If "reading yet another thread from someone who wants to make a MMO" bothers some people... then those people simply shouldn't read them.

Again, when the time comes that I'm ready to move forward and put a team together, have a solid demo of the game and some information to show prospective members what the game is about, what it looks like, etc... then I will be certainly seeking people with adequate experience - or at least a foundation to build from - to make it happen.

As for networking layers and such... Again, I would be, ideally, finding someone who has experience and or some hands-on knowledge in the necessary fields to bring those aspects of it together.

I'm the designer and creator of the game, its lore, setting, core concepts, etc... yes. But I am only one person with a very specific skill-set. By no means am I the only person who will have played a role in shaping the finished game. It will be the result of every single person involved, whether they be pushing pixels, pointers or packets.

I don't know programming. I don't understand networking layers, etc. But then again, I don't have to. When it all comes together, there will be people on the team who do.
(03-02-2011 06:57 PM)Voc007 Wrote:  Well said Wolfsong73, just like Disney said "Keep moving forward".

Man I thought I was the only old man here, I am 40.

Best luck to you on your future. Hope to see more of your work.

Thanks! I hope to be posting some more tid-bits before too long.

I'm splitting myself up a bit between the 3D work, documentation and map work, so it might take a few days before I have something new to show.
(03-02-2011 07:43 PM)Tottel Wrote:  A good motivation goes a long way, which you seem to have. smile
Good luck with your project.

P.S. Blender 2.5x is pretty good. pfft

Thanks! Appreciate the words.

I've tried to like Blender 2.5, believe me lol. I just can't do it. It's going to be a hard sell to get me to switch over to it from the 2.4x series. If they can provide an option for 2.5 to work similarly to 2.4x, where the work-flow is hardly changed at all, that would be perfect. They just seem to have "fixed" things that didn't seem broken in the first place, UI wise. I know that's ironic considering it's about an application that many people feel is as unintuitive as they come lol.
(This post was last modified: 03-03-2011 12:27 AM by Wolfsong73.)
03-03-2011 12:11 AM
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rndbit Offline
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Post: #10
RE: The first step of many...
regarding blender.. i guess you are just too used to old interface. as i am programmer i havent done much modeling, but i certainly tried both blender 2.4 and 2.5. most of my modeling was in 2.4, and yes, i agree that new interfaces requires more time to do same thing until we are adjusted. hell i could not even assign vertices to the bone in 2.5 grin thats where animating of my skeleton ended smile nevertheless i love new interface because it looks so much more to what i have seen, and is so much more comfortable than scores of tiny buttons in the lower part of the screen. smile
03-03-2011 11:05 AM
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Wolfsong73 Offline
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Post: #11
RE: The first step of many...
(03-03-2011 11:05 AM)rndbit Wrote:  regarding blender.. i guess you are just too used to old interface. as i am programmer i havent done much modeling, but i certainly tried both blender 2.4 and 2.5. most of my modeling was in 2.4, and yes, i agree that new interfaces requires more time to do same thing until we are adjusted. hell i could not even assign vertices to the bone in 2.5 grin thats where animating of my skeleton ended smile nevertheless i love new interface because it looks so much more to what i have seen, and is so much more comfortable than scores of tiny buttons in the lower part of the screen. smile

Oh it looks fantastic, and feels a lot smoother (even compared to 2.4x which always felt smooth to me as well. The app as a whole feels much sleeker and more "commercial quality" (in a manner of speaking; I think it surpasses many of those I've tried that cost in the 1000's for a single license).

I don't even mind that they move things around to new locations. It's that basic functionality - things that you would expect to still work the same (or at least I would) - seem to have been changed up and it's resulted in me fighting with the interface for 5 minutes just to figure out how to do something that takes 20 seconds. I've ended up just closing 2.5 in frustration and re-opening the model in 2.49 far too many times for my liking.

I'm not afraid of "change" or adapting to something new... I just don't gel well with things that are made more unintuitive, when they functioned just fine to begin as they worked previously.
03-03-2011 01:40 PM
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dragonfly3 Offline
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Post: #12
RE: The first step of many...
Wolfsong73-I sent you a PM, please check your inbox smile
03-04-2011 06:39 PM
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Driklyn Offline
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Post: #13
RE: The first step of many...
This is unrelated, but it's nice to see you're still around dragonfly3...
03-05-2011 09:47 AM
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dragonfly3 Offline
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Post: #14
RE: The first step of many...
(03-05-2011 09:47 AM)Driklyn Wrote:  This is unrelated, but it's nice to see you're still around dragonfly3...

Yes, I'm still around, just been busy moving my computer & stuff so haven't been on the boards much lately but I'm all settled now so I can be around more now smile

My programmer left my team before he even started, once I actually bought the engine. I guess he wasn't as serious as I thought he was, along with 2 other team members. But I'm not giving up, just doing more work on my own & searching for a new programmer. I guess when things get down to the nitty gritty that's when you find out who on your team is just talk & who wants to actually do some work.
03-05-2011 10:21 PM
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Driklyn Offline
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Post: #15
RE: The first step of many...
Ah, sorry to hear that. It seems as though it would be hard to find truly dedicated people to work on such a lengthy project. Good luck in your search!
03-05-2011 10:44 PM
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