# Lets talk about MMO development...

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### #21Rofar

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 04:19 PM

I won't argue that in order to prepare an MMO for production there needs to be adequate testing under production conditions and that is certainly a major activity in developing an MMO. However, if someboday came to me (as a programmer) and wanted to hire me to "develop" an MMO. And if that person(s) had all the production support in place or at least was taking the responsibility for that part, my concerns out of the gate would not even touch on the production side of it.

As a poor analogy...if I asked someone how to build a race car, I wouldn't expect them to tell me I can't do it because I don't have a driver and a race track to put the car on.

It's possible I misunderstood the original topic of this post but I honestly believe the question was in regards to the challenges of making the game and not the challenges of marketing, hosting or delivering the game.

I, personally, have a problem with the amount of emphasis that is put on the first M in MMO. To me, an MMO is a genre. What does the first M mean? I mean how many simultaneous players qualifies? Is there a magic number that validates it as an MMO? Is it 1000+ per server? To me, the first M indicates a Massive virtual world. The second M is multiplayer (more than 1 player). I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

### #22starstutter

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 09:12 PM

Rofar said:

However, if someboday came to me (as a programmer) and wanted to hire me to "develop" an MMO. And if that person(s) had all the production support in place or at least was taking the responsibility for that part, my concerns out of the gate would not even touch on the production side of it.
Yes, that is possible. You could potentially program one if that situation were somehow set-up. I don't think anyone would say you *can't* program an MMO, because it would be little different than programming a single-player game. Now, programming it well without a testing group the size of a small country, that's a different story.

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As a poor analogy...if I asked someone how to build a race car, I wouldn't expect them to tell me I can't do it because I don't have a driver and a race track to put the car on.
I wouldn't expect him to tell you that you can't do it, but if he were responsibe he would tell you that you shouldn't do it, because the end result would be spending several years building a car that's not street legal. And on top of thet you would never know if you finished it because you cant drive it (for extended periods) to see if it works properly.

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It's possible I misunderstood the original topic of this post but I honestly believe the question was in regards to the challenges of making the game and not the challenges of marketing, hosting or delivering the game.
I'm not sure what the OP was thinking, but I doubt anyone has a goal that he knows will never be playable. I mean, if you were going into MMO development with a professional company, then go for it I guess but that would seem to be a pretty round-about way to get before-hand experience.

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To me, an MMO is a genre. What does the first M mean?
MMO means Massive Multiplayer Online (yes, you were right about the massive part).

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I mean how many simultaneous players qualifies? Is there a magic number that validates it as an MMO?
I don't think there is any written standard (at least I don't think) which would make it a slang term. It would just be a label like "goth" or "jok" as another poor analogy to social groups. If a game could host thousands per-server, then people would see it as an MMO.

Also one way you can tell that MMO has no official standard is because of all the indies boasting their "MMOFPSRPG's" that can support 20 players per server if they're lucky, and most of them are horrendously broken both graphically and gameplay wise. It's kind of the same thing with the term "next gen". There are countless websites that offer "next gen" game engines that look like the first half-life, only usually more lob-sided.
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### #23rouncer

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 02:36 AM

you can avoid having a server entirely by using peer 2 peer techniques.

ever think of that? *der*

### #24jakt

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:25 PM

Rofar said:

I won't argue that in order to prepare an MMO for production there needs to be adequate testing under production conditions and that is certainly a major activity in developing an MMO. However, if someboday came to me (as a programmer) and wanted to hire me to "develop" an MMO. And if that person(s) had all the production support in place or at least was taking the responsibility for that part, my concerns out of the gate would not even touch on the production side of it.

As a poor analogy...if I asked someone how to build a race car, I wouldn't expect them to tell me I can't do it because I don't have a driver and a race track to put the car on.

It's possible I misunderstood the original topic of this post but I honestly believe the question was in regards to the challenges of making the game and not the challenges of marketing, hosting or delivering the game.

I, personally, have a problem with the amount of emphasis that is put on the first M in MMO. To me, an MMO is a genre. What does the first M mean? I mean how many simultaneous players qualifies? Is there a magic number that validates it as an MMO? Is it 1000+ per server? To me, the first M indicates a Massive virtual world. The second M is multiplayer (more than 1 player). I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

Actually Rofar, I think you are one of the few in the this thread that DOES understand my question...and have offered the most comprehensive answers as well.

Asking how to make an MMO was not my question.
Asking how much work is needed to make an MMO was not my question.
Asking if it is possible for an indie studio to make an MMO was not my question.

I already know the answers to these questions.

My question was more sociologically based in why the community has such a hard on for indie MMO teams and how doomed they are.

### #25starstutter

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 11:32 PM

jakt said:

My question was more sociologically based in why the community has such a hard on for indie MMO teams and how doomed they are.
And we really already answered those questions. We generally encounter 2 kinds of people for the sake of the subject:

(1). As mentioned in one of the first posts, we *are* biased toward this kind of thing because after seeing 70 (I'm not kidding, that's a rough count) posts in half caps that want people to develop the next WoW killer for free, it gets sickening, and if you ignore them they generally just keep posting. On top of that, most of them time when you attempt to reson with them and warn them about the impossiblity of the thing, they take it as hostillity and start chewing you out for no reason. The only thing you can really do with them is point and laugh, so that's what we do.

(2). For the ones that seriously inquire about it and appear to have a functioning brain (asking reasonable questions like the OP), we generally give responsible advice, and that advice always is not to make them. We do say it's impossible to make an MMO, but what we really mean is an extremley summarized version of this entire thread; that is, you can make one, it just won't be practical or playable.

Anyway, "having a hard on" is an interesting way to put it I guess but realize that we're not out to undermine anybody. We're trying to keep people from wasting their time. I would LOVE to see more (good) indie games out there, and that can't happen when all the effort goes toward over-ambitious projects.
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### #26jakt

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 12:06 AM

starstutter said:

And we really already answered those questions. We generally encounter 2 kinds of people for the sake of the subject:

(1). As mentioned in one of the first posts, we *are* biased toward this kind of thing because after seeing 70 (I'm not kidding, that's a rough count) posts in half caps that want people to develop the next WoW killer for free, it gets sickening, and if you ignore them they generally just keep posting. On top of that, most of them time when you attempt to reson with them and warn them about the impossiblity of the thing, they take it as hostillity and start chewing you out for no reason. The only thing you can really do with them is point and laugh, so that's what we do.

I can understand this. When some kid makes a forum account because he though up some idea in school today that is going to become the next million subscriber MMO (and yes I see this often as well), I can understand why someone would have that reaction, but some of time I feel the reaction is misplaced and maybe a bit knee jerk. It has evolved from a heavy dose of advice to a pointing and laughing situation like you said. But hey, crying about other people getting flamed wasn't really the point I was trying to make here, so thats a whole different issue.

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(2). For the ones that seriously inquire about it and appear to have a functioning brain, we generally give responsible advice, and that advice always is not to make them. We do say it's impossible to make an MMO, but what we really mean is an extremley summarized version of this entire thread; that is, you can make one, it just won't be practical or playable.

Hehe, well as long as thats what you mean instead of impossible, then I guess I feel encouraged!

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Anyway, "having a hard on" is an interesting way to put it I guess but realize that we're not out to undermine anybody. We're trying to keep people from wasting their time. I would LOVE to see more (good) indie games out there, and that can't happen when all the effort goes toward over-ambitious projects.

Well how will we ever find any new indie devs if we result to the pointing and laughing reaction that you have stated? As an upcoming developer like myself, if I werent as determined (or perhaps slightly insane) I may have given up by now with the amount of encouragement I have seen from others. But like I said, I am not here to debate flaming people on forums.

### #27starstutter

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 01:21 AM

jakt said:

But hey, crying about other people getting flamed wasn't really the point I was trying to make here, so thats a whole different issue.
heh, yeah that's kind of collateral damage

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Well how will we ever find any new indie devs if we result to the pointing and laughing reaction that you have stated?
Darwinism I guess. Yeah, it's totally possible that a begginner with real potential has a lapse of judgment (happens to just about everybody) and fires up in super-plugging mode of forums in exceitment. At that point the laughing will start and fingers will point. There's one of 2 options:

(A) He'll give up totally after starting on the project and learns the reality of complex programming (or networking, yeesh) and drop his temp hobby.

(B) He'll realize his lapse in judment later, but say oh well and start a new, more realistic project. He'll also probably realize that even though he made himself look like an ass, this is the internet where you can slap a new face on yourself in a matter of minutes and get a fresh start (great aint it).

Point is, the ones who were going to become a real developer anyway will probably take path B, and the ones who were never serious about it will inevadably choose A. Remember that most of the mmo poo flingers that come on forums have no idea how to code and want to take a role as "producer" or "designer", with both those roles being essentially useless in a small group.

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As an upcoming developer like myself, if I werent as determined (or perhaps slightly insane).
We're all insane here ^^
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### #28timothyinspa

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 01:33 AM

lol agree with starstutter, I find this topic that shows the true Devmaster Spirit! :)

### #29rouncer

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 04:27 AM

i dont think anyones doomed unless they think they are.

jakt - dont listen to anyone here - DO IT.

### #30IncludeNoErrors

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 09:10 AM

Personally I believe it can be done, just drop the first "M" in "MMO".

Man management on a Indie game is going to be the first hurdle, dedication next, then the issue of cash.

Don't aim to be the next WoW killer, just be different, addictive and if you get as far as Beta, let them know exactly what to expect. e.g. Its not WoW its not '"M"assive.'

As for a Indie MMO on par with the big-guns, unless.. you find a ton of top notch unemployed programmers, concept artist, 2d/3d-artists, level designers, Accountants, PR staff, Support Noddies, Level 1 server(s) host etc etc etc + a venture capitalist whom lives in the clouds.

Remember someone at some point probably told Roy Trubshaw that a MuD could not be made in the 70s.

M.

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### #31Sol_HSA

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 10:39 AM

IncludeNoErrors said:

+ a venture capitalist whom lives in the clouds.
Are there any other kind? =)

Personally, I don't care if people go and try to make a WoW killer. It's just those "join *my* mmo project and code it for me" people I'd rather be without.

Why does it always have to be *your* mmo project? Why not join another that's starting; there's plenty to go around..
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### #32Mikee

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 11:41 AM

I don't believe that MAKING an MMORPG is much harder than making a standard RPG. It's harder, don't get me wrong, but I don't think the gap is as big as people seem to make out.

Deploying and support it is MUCH harder, granted. But your typical indie developer isn't going to have 8 million players jumping into the game the moment it comes out of beta.

If you've managed to create an interesting well written game and you don't have the resources to support the amount of players and interest you're getting - you grow. Most companies don't just spring out of the ground with multimillion dollar server farms and huge support teams at their disposal.

As for needing a small country of people to beta test your game, I don't agree. A guy I know has a game in alpha testing now and from what I've heard he's got over a thousand people testing the game and the project is going very well. He's not expecting to take on WoW or Lotro or anything like that, he's simply making a game with a concept which he thinks people will enjoy and he will no doubt expand if the demand is there.

### #33rouncer

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 01:12 PM

i dont think even the pro ones have much in the way of content in them, thats why i dont play them.

*kill me im annoying*

### #34starstutter

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 04:21 PM

IncludeNoErrors said:

Personally I believe it can be done, just drop the first "M" in "MMO".
Totally, but then it's not an MMO anymore :D

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Man management on a Indie game is going to be the first hurdle, dedication next, then the issue of cash.
I think it's more round-about than that:
1. Personal Dedication
2. Personal Knowledge
3. Getting a working demo so worth-while people will join you
4. Team dedication / knowledge
5. money
6. Painful legal crap

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Don't aim to be the next WoW killer, just be different,
Awesome! Someone who gets it! The only way indie companies can possibly compete with AAA titles is by being innovative. If you put out a cookie cutter shooter or a knockoff WoW, you're going to be crushed by the quality expectations.

On a different note, I wonder just how much indie companies can compete with big names. Obviously AAA companies make millions of dollars more than indies, but in the end it all comes down to profit/expense ratios, and in that sense it may be closer than most may think.

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unless.. you find a ton of top notch unemployed programmers, concept artist, 2d/3d-artists, level designers,
There's probably more of them than you think. Lots of college students in these fields are looking to make tangible portfolio work. The only thing more impressive than a detailed model created by an artist is having that model running around and being life-like. As far as programmers go, having a completed game with good art assests would look incredible on a resume.
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### #35rouncer

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 04:43 PM

starscrewer->

just cause your a regular ass sniffer, just prooves that you got what you didnt invent.
go suck up to .oisyn more, hes your big hero.

but im not knocking your knowledge or how good you are... but why dont you stick up for
yourself instead of training into being a successful sheep.

im quite sure i could convert any rpg across to be able to do it, its not such a big thing to
say, thats why youll work out why your a dumbo in the end, all of you.

### #36Nodlehs

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 05:09 PM

jakt said:

So is there some hidden aspect to multiplayer RPG software production that I am not seeing, or are single player RPG's just not seen on an epic scale as MMO's are?

What you are missing is time. It is very possible for one man (or a small team) to write an MMO. The problem is how long it is going to take them. As the years wear on they will probably lose interest and move onto something more realistic.

rouncer said:

starscrewer->

just cause your a regular ass sniffer, just prooves that you got what you didnt invent.
go suck up to .oisyn more, hes your big hero.

but im not knocking your knowledge or how good you are... but why dont you stick up for
yourself instead of training into being a successful sheep.

im quite sure i could convert any rpg across to be able to do it, its not such a big thing to
say, thats why youll work out why your a dumbo in the end, all of you.

Do you even bother reading what you write before you hit the "Submit Reply" button? If you want to flame someone because you think they are brown nosing and what not, fine, go for it. But please make it so I can read it. I don't like to whip out the popcorn for a flame war if I have to read each post 5 times to decipher what the person is trying to say. There is a "Preview Post" button for a reason.

### #37starstutter

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 09:17 PM

Nodlehs said:

What you are missing is time. It is very possible for one man (or a small team) to write an MMO. The problem is how long it is going to take them. As the years wear on they will probably lose interest and move onto something more realistic.
Exactly, there's will power to a point, but then you begin to realize there's much better things you could be doing with your time. You could complete an MMO theoreticly, but as said above, is it really worth it?

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Do you even bother reading what you write before you hit the "Submit Reply" button?
Just ignore him, he's kinda..... :rolleyes:
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### #38DeBraveMan

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 11:09 PM

The point is do you need a large sum to make an MMO???
My answer to that is NO.You can make an MMO without spending a large sum of because the tools we have now to develop games is between FREE to thousands of dollars depending on where you get your resources from. Buying from an actual game company or other compant sources will cost between hundreds to thousands of dollars.Downloading from a website is between FREE to a few hundreds of dollars.Then with a game programming or designing books it will be free to nearly a hundred dollars depending on tool set service.You have to pay at least $20 to$80 depending on the publisher him or herself.I would rather choose using the books (as I have bought about six books) because they come with a great deal of information ,knowledge,and key points.They'll teach you along the lines of actually hands on development.The more books you buy the more open your possibilities and knowledge is to when you know about game development now.So you can already have an good idea of game development to when you start in the actuality of business.Start small,then go bigger with each step of the way.....

### #39ville-v

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 04:51 PM

starstutter said:

I have 2 words for you,
BRUTE FORCE
That is the term I would use to describe this:

It has nothing do do with the programming challenge, it has to do with the sheer amount of power you need to support that many players in one game world. THIS is why you need millions of dollars, it's not a matter of will-power. I guarentee you that the dedicated servers you're thinking of are not nearly powerful enough to run something on an MMO scale.

Other than that, no, there's really not a whole lot of difference for programming. That's why an RPG can be made by one person, and a *real* MMO is next to impossible. Now, what is possible is an Multiplayer Online RPG. It's the "massive" part that so hard.
An indie MMORPG does not need as much resources as a government or Google.

For 1000 players online, one good decicated server is enough, even though you won't get as good ping as some FPS would require. If you have 100 players online, even some donated server is more than enough.

### #40starstutter

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 06:25 PM

ville-v said:

For 1000 players online, one good decicated server is enough, even though you won't get as good ping as some FPS would require. If you have 100 players online, even some donated server is more than enough.

But there's always a catch 22 here. Yeah, you can support that many online, but then it's not an MMO.

Now, I'm no server expert, but if Valve has trouble running 32 players in the same game without severe lag, I don't know how indies think they have a prayer of supporting upwards of 1000 in the same game.

Btw, yes that pic was exagerating, I was just stating an example, a single million dollar server stack didn't look very impressive in the picture ;)
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