Player Driven Fantasy World

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AltarofScience 101 Oct 24, 2011 at 03:23

DISCLAIMER: I know that I cannot single handedly develop a high quality mmorpg with cool graphics and shit. I am writing a text based RPG, with possibly some images that use links as maps. I do not expect even 100 players to play it. It is mostly for fun, for myself and friends on other games, I already know how to program with php/mysql/css/javascript/html/ajax/etc. This game is just a fun conceptual thing I am doing for now, because I am already deep into writing another text based browser game of a different sort. It is probably being opened to the public(mostly derived from previous game communities I was a part of, with players already signing up to play a test round) in November as an alpha/beta type thing, and completed sometime in January next year, but still mostly a private invite only server: because web hosting costs. This game is basically what I once heard called intellectual porn, its just really fun to think about and make some demos for, I do not know if in a couple years I will be in a position to still work on it. I would mainly like to discuss issues of stability, player death, and so forth. Yes my disclaimer is super long, but often with a topic like this you see people get a whole bunch of posts that are doom and gloom, can you program, don’t expect anyone to help for free, we aren’t going to write it for you, and so forth, and I want to be clear, I am not asking that.

I am attempting to develop a very player/cooperation intensive fantasy game RPG game.
The point of this thread is to hash out details, ask if anyone has ideas to contribute and discuss ways to create a persistent world that doesn’t crumble after a few months. The game will probably start as a browser game project, but its certainly possible to code a more complex version ala 3d world mmorpgs, although, time and graphics and what not make that difficult.

Essentially the game has a complex economy based on resource production of various kinds:
crops
plants
metals
wood
stone
livestock

These items are used to create higher level items:
gems
refined metals
food ingredients
alchemical ingredients
processed stone
processed wood

And higher:
weapons
enchanted items
books
scrolls
health/mana/energy items
buildings
production capital

Items can be raised to progressively higher levels or made high quality originally.

Players produce building materials to construct towns.
Towns are military/economic/scientific/political/social entities.
Cooperation entities exist vertically and laterally entities, such as magical colleges, trade guilds, factories, towns, inns, corporations, stores, chains of stores, states, town alliances, nations, empires. The nature of a cooperative entity is technically entirely player constructed, although in game support of basic level features will exist. So, you can create tax structures, defense pacts and so forth and players will organize them in a way to replicate real world structures, or maybe develop new ones.

Unlike games such as travian and evony, every area cannot produce resources. This is where the economy comes in. Pretty much everything is player developed. There will be a portal area I guess, where players come from, and which will play a part in npc recruitment, because npcs will always be needed as menial labor. In skilled positions npcs will be useful but inferior to a player and players can buy and sell to and from npcs to some degree. I will go into detail on that if anyone asks.

The portal will be a safety zone, with minimal level services, so players can sleep there safely, but sleep won’t be as effective, aka sleeping bags or beds of grass or straw. There may be a value limit on how powerful of a character can stay there, or there may not.

As an example of npc interaction:
A new area is discovered and it is far from established towns. A player with the perquisite economic power decides to found a town. He hires a work crew, buys construction supplies, gets transport for them, and possibly protection. His caravan heads out to the area. They build temporary housing, a stake wall or something for protection, get a community building of wood and canvas, or just a big tent, which is used for dining and meetings. The player may hire a foreman to run the crew. The crew gets to work on the buildings, maybe it takes a week and they build an inn or something. They may then choose to start construction on other buildings, hire more work crews, and so forth. The player can put himself in charge for a time, which limits the actions he can take during that time, and precludes movement, for extra value. He may also pay other player characters with useful skills, and depending on the value of those skills speed up production, build stronger buildings and so forth. Individual buildings are built on separate time scales and the costs are done separately. After the player makes his town, which he will probably continue to improve over time, he may not have player characters willing to come out and fill all the roles. So maybe he hires npcs, who are cheap, and always available, but do poor work in comparison. Innkeepers might have poorer food or service, or sleeping arrangements, or what have you. Armorers may be worse at repairs, cost more to repair with, be able to make only inferior gear, and so forth. General stores may have less of a selection. Ideally our town owner wants to entice players of certain trades to work in his town.

Travel takes an amount of time, so building a town close to a useful area allows the owner to possibly generate quite a bit of revenue based on services offered, and also pick up better goods with less travel time for attacks to happen. He may also install a private portal in his town, allowing him to move goods safely to his main manufacturies. Also, he may allow PCs to use his portal to move to other portal enabled areas, for a price. Obviously money needs to be charged so that players don’t just use the portal and ignore other aspects of his town. He may also want to use a portal to link into a banking network, thus allowing PCs to have access to their main stores of cash and items. Towns can take a long time to build so that if someone invests a lot of money in a town, someone else can’t just instantly spawn a better one. It also gives more merchant type jobs since places with rare resources that don’t have towns might need to use caravans or wagon trains and whatnot.

I have some work to do, but I will expand the post later.

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rouncer 104 Oct 25, 2011 at 17:28

sounds like a good game, although id give you more respect if you were actually making it, not just designing it.

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AltarofScience 101 Oct 28, 2011 at 18:19

@rouncer

sounds like a good game, although id give you more respect if you were actually making it, not just designing it.

I am making another game right now, which is pretty far along, which is why I haven’t got time to work on this one just yet. However, I am doing some basic design with free time during classes at college, they don’t let you use comps in class a lot of times, so I can’t actually code my other game, but I can work out some stuff for this one on paper.

I am making a database blueprint, like organizing table relations and primary and foreign keys and what not. I am also working out some of the code stuff. Like the world generator code, and the map displays and stuff. I mean, I can write code on paper, I just can’t debug it so much.

Some people are concerned about how important players are to the game, ie players produce all the resources, so what if no one wants to do some task, or buy certain products. I am also sorta having problems with money generation. Where is the money going to initially come from? Do players get a pretty large lump sum at the start? Do monsters drop money when killed? Regulating the money supply in a free market economy is going to be hard to deal with.

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rouncer 104 Oct 28, 2011 at 21:50

Oh cool, so your a real developer. Well good luck to you, I hope you iron out your problems.

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AltarofScience 101 Oct 28, 2011 at 23:36

@rouncer

Oh cool, so your a real developer. Well good luck to you, I hope you iron out your problems.

do you have any sort of comment on the game itself? not that i’m adverse to general encouragement. some people i’ve talked to seem to think that having players generate all the resources won’t work too well. I mean, I know for sure that the early game probably won’t have a lot of mass appeal, because a lot of people, especially casuals like to jump right into the fighting and so forth.

Here is a detailed comment about a specific area of the game:
“Anyways, various kinds of land produce resources. Players can either work them alone, sort of like in rune scape, or they can construct a building and hire npcs. I also am thinking about a sort of quest like system, players can contribute value to a building by working for another player. Their skills determine what sort of benefit they bring, and building owners can assign a default wage for player work.

That might create some interesting competition scenarios where a player is more efficient than an npc up to a certain wage. Say the default npc was is 5coins an hour. NPCs harvest 1 res an hour. A player with base one skills harvests 2 res an hour. It would be worthwhile for the employer player to pay at least 10coins an hour for a given hour that a player is willing to work. That way a player has a way to earn money without generic quests. An employer player could also set a scalar wage based on player skill. A player with a level 2 skill produces 3 res an hour, at level 3 4 res an hour. So an employer could assign a default wage of 5coins per res per hour. So a player with a level 10 skill, makes 11 res an hour and gets paid 55coins an hour.

Now, players can invest in various capital goods. Say an owner purchases a sharper, lighter tool. Then a player with that tool over a general tool can produce twice as much resource. So they now make 22 res an hour at level 10. In that case the employer might say, I will pay you 25% more coins per hour. Now in theory another employer could pay 30-50% more coins per hour and lure workers away from the other employer. Now of course the employer cannot pay too much because they need to buy the tools, or possibly pay a crafting player to design a tool, which they must then pay for.

Anyways, this is a small excerpt of some of the game player, and written in general terms. This part of the game integrates with warfare, questing, various magical things, political systems, alliances, and so forth. Players can also build buildings and make towns and so forth. In the magic sphere magic can do some things cheaper/faster/easier, magic can be used for many things. In regards to mining, a mine owner may purchase explosives from an alchemist which increases his total mining production and so forth.

Given that players have to generate all the resources in the game, at least indirectly, ie a player has to build a mine and hire npcs, but npcs on their own cannot produce ore, only as hired workers. Before one can build a mine, one has to generate enough money to build a building, or protective walls, or create tools and so forth. How do you think this kind of game would work in practice? Remember its text/image based.”

How do you think those sorts of mechanics would work out?