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Thread: Pro / cons of the various kind of MMOs ?

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    Question Pro / cons of the various kind of MMOs ?

    I wanted to discuss about this, since I think might interest various people. I was talking with a developer friend about the various differences (and pro / cons) of the various MMOs possibilities:

    pure webgames (boutique games, etc)
    PRO: easier to program than other system, usually programmed in php or other server-side languages, low bandwidth
    CON: probably lacks of "features" like music, animations etc unless integrated with flash components

    flash / social MMO
    PRO: hm well I suppose the viral marketing, you can have all features of a downloadable (audio, anims, etc)
    CON: usually you can't go fullscreen ? and limited 3d capabilities and framerate issues. I also heard it's very hard to debug/mantain (not sure though).

    full client/server downloadable
    PRO: You can go fullscreen and take full advantage of computer specs (no low framerate, full 3d, etc).
    CON: it seems the less used by indies, not sure why? harder to program probably too

    Personally I was thinking about the 3rd (client / server) because with python is really easy to do network code and is a language I love (as opposed to AS which I hate! lol), but I'm a total beginner and probably is a bad idea. I was recently intrigued by some php games, since probably is easier to make than a full downloadable one. Another solution could be to use Unity but I would have to learn it from zero...

    Any suggestions are welcome, I want to hear what you think about those solutions or if you know of other ones!

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    Personally I don't think PHP should be thought of as easier to code a game in. Sure, "Hello World" is easier than the Java equivalent. But make something of large scale and you start seeing the dark side of "easy".

    Why not use Python if you love it? Anything PHP can do, Python can do... (except run on a cheap shared webhosting account)

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    yes I'm looking into python web solution indeed the fact is that I know php already, but while I know python, I don't know how to make webpages with it, etc

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    Just based on my observations (and not my experiences) it seems that the Flash-based MMOs tend to get a pretty good amount of players somewhat quickly. I imagine its harder to get as many fans with a download-able, but obviously possible (WoW, EVE, etc).

    I know Nexic has had good experiences with his zombie-based Flash MMO, but then again... anything with zombies in in has to be good, right?

    I'm using TGB for my MMO. The networking part is somewhat done for you (unless you need real-time ghosting, etc) and I had already learned it a while back, so we'll see where it ends up!

    I'm not going to ask what kind of MMO you are doing because I don't want to be mentally distraught if it is the same idea I'm working on
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Norton View Post
    pure webgames (boutique games, etc)
    PRO: easier to program than other system, usually programmed in php or other server-side languages, low bandwidth
    CON: probably lacks of "features" like music, animations etc unless integrated with flash components
    Music, animations - etc - all possible, take a look at lordofultima.com and other similar games.

    flash / social MMO
    Social games could be AJAX as well - take a look at Mafia Wars.

    There are no social MMO games, that's a myth.

    PRO: hm well I suppose the viral marketing,
    Yep, you'll get few thousand new players per day if you'll submit an app to facebook directory (if it will still exist).

    CON: usually you can't go fullscreen ?
    Please try Farmville or most of other social flash games.

    limited 3d capabilities and framerate issues.
    No proof that social players care about 3D. 90% of social players will call isometric games "a 3d game".

    I also heard it's very hard to debug/mantain (not sure though).
    Yes, it is hard to debug/maintain alone, that's why you need a team.


    full client/server downloadable
    PRO: You can go fullscreen and take full advantage of computer specs (no low framerate, full 3d, etc).
    CON: it seems the less used by indies, not sure why? harder to program probably too
    Marketing of a downloadable game is 3x times more expensive than web game.

    Personally I was thinking about the 3rd (client / server) because with python is really easy to do network code and is a language I love (as opposed to AS which I hate! lol), but I'm a total beginner and probably is a bad idea. I was recently intrigued by some php games, since probably is easier to make than a full downloadable one. Another solution could be to use Unity but I would have to learn it from zero...
    That would be a stupid move. Don't go with a downloadable client/server, you could perhaps ask berserker if he would go for flash or downloadable if he would know more in the beginning.
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    Heh was expecting your post
    Considering I don't want / can't hire a team, what would be the best option for someone doing a game alone? I suppose webgame in php/ajax (I really don't think will be ever able to make anything decent in flash).

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    Quote Originally Posted by tolik View Post
    There are no social MMO games, that's a myth.
    I liked the rest of your responses, but on this one I suggest you look at Andrew Tepper's A Tale in the Desert, now in its fourth telling. In ancient Egypt, players form a society from the ground up, propose and pass laws, and eventually develop a complete legal system.

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    A Tale in the Desert - that's just a boutique subscription-based virtual world, has nothing in common with social games.

    Jack: I'd propose to take any of your simulators (not sure if sport ones are a good idea) move the game logic to a server side, rewrite clients in ajax/flash/haxe, make it work in facebook and then start iterating with player to player interactions, e.g. assigning friends into your team and making sure they could help you during the game. From this point you need to figure out monetization. Think of monetization as selling cheats to players - if it takes 1 day to earn, sell it for $1. If there's a game over criteria, let people continue by paying $10 in game currency. Etc.
    Make sure the game is endless and has unlimited possibilities for growth - more levels, more enemies, more locations.

    I'd suggest to start with http://www.winterwolves.com/theflowershop.htm and could consult/help you produce it.


    A cooler one would be Supernova 2: Spacewar - I could clearly see how it would work limit the number of battles per day by adding fuel or decays, make sure that movement across the galaxy takes hours or days but player is able to buy super fuel speed-ups to complete the game faster, however space themes are anti-viral and far too hardcore.
    Last edited by tolik; 03-24-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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    I would say a flash web game would be the best route. You get some pretty decent visual effects combined with the convenience (for you and players) of keeping it browser based. But of course I'm biased since that's exactly how my MMO works.

    I don't think a team is necessary until you get big. I also think that making the Flower Shop into an MMO would be 'me too' type thinking. There are already tons of farm games out there. I would go with something more original and with less competition.

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    Yeah, take a look at http://picasaweb.google.com/farmanthology/FarmAnthology before doing "me too".
    PS. I'm doing "me too" too.
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    I agree with nexic, I always made niche stuff and I wouldn't want to do yet-another-farm-game

    Actually the game I wanted to make was based on magic stones, even if there are a lot of fantasy card / battles turnbased games as MMO... anyway, first I will take a look at haxe since seems the less painful solution between php,ajax and flash

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    By denying mainstream genres you deny your bright future.
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    Lol actually now I am only in the phase "can I make it". If the only way I can make it is through downloadable, rather than not having any game at all, will use that system...
    As for the genre I don't think would be able to make a nice game if I don't like playing it myself!

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    Personally I was thinking about the 3rd (client / server) because with python is really easy to do network code and is a language I love (as opposed to AS which I hate! lol), but I'm a total beginner and probably is a bad idea. I was recently intrigued by some php games, since probably is easier to make than a full downloadable one. Another solution could be to use Unity but I would have to learn it from zero...

    Any suggestions are welcome, I want to hear what you think about those solutions or if you know of other ones!
    Some people don't know very simple facts.

    Developing an MMO is an ELITE project. It's for ELITE developers ONLY!

    It's not for "total beginners" in ANY WAY.

    MMO is an enterprise. It has HUGE requirements in every dimension: technical, content, team, design, maintenance etc.

    If your are a single dude, without millions to spend, your ONLY option is to make a MUD. That is a text based game. You have no other options really.

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    I know plenty of guys who've produced great, successful web-based MMO games with $50k-100k budgets with small teams.
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    Options I'm currently looking at:

    Using Php/Mysql across amazon EC2 instances to scale across.

    Using python or java in google appengine to scale (downside is that bigtable isnt really meant for that kind of data retrieval).

    Flash/flex on the front end (Mark knows flash), obviously the backend is all webservices anyway so it doesnt really matter where it comes from. All of it is tied together (authorization, social content etc) by facebook api's.

    We're going to play with a 3D client tied into the exact same backend via webkit (so the C++ downloadable literally renders the same web-content via webkit as our UI).

    The fun thing is that all of this works across facebook, your own website, even downloadable and on smartphones. Thorny issues of backend scaling, language choice and whatnot aside.

    The big thing I took away from GDC this year is how varied a set of platforms we can target. I've moved away from thinking of the consoles as targets and moved more towards a mixture of online, mobile and downloadable cross-platform approach. Doesnt mean you have to ignore doing 3D downloadables (which I enjoy), but gives you lots of ways to scale and cross promote.

    We'll be throwing a prototype together over easter with a view to trying to get production sorted over summer. Mechanic will be really simple stuff at first. What many in the social games scene are calling "minimal viable product" I think.
    www.mindflock.com - social AI-based games

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    I know plenty of guys who've produced great, successful web-based MMO games with $50k-100k budgets with small teams.
    Really? Name them! I dare you! At 50k-100k there is NO WAY you can have a team, unless it's your "love" team - people who are your friends and will work for peanuts. Good programmer makes 5k. How many good programmers do you need for a GOOD MMO? How many GOOD artists?

    At least you acknowledged that he needs a team. Team of 10 probably. Having ten skilled game dev. friends is a miracle. I he has such, am jealous.
    Last edited by Hideo; 03-24-2010 at 06:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hideo View Post
    Some people don't know very simple facts. Developing an MMO is an ELITE project. It's for ELITE developers ONLY! It's not for "total beginners" in ANY WAY.
    Some people may wish to read my Escapist #75 article "Boutique MMOGs," which lists a few dozen MMOs produced by small teams on very low budgets. It's out of date now, but its point still stands: Some of these games are respectably successful, and a few are huge. (See also the article's companion blog entry "Your own MMOG?")

    The only truly successful one-man MMO I know of (so far) is Gene Endrody's Sherwood Dungeon, which last I heard was closing in on a million regular players. But that was a year or more ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hideo
    If your are a single dude, without millions to spend, your ONLY option is to make a MUD. That is a text based game. You have no other options really.
    You are so wrong it's not even funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hideo
    Really? Name them! I dare you!
    Dead Frontier was created by me (alone) on a budget of less than $1000.

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    Dead Frontier was created by me (alone) on a budget of less than $1000.
    Were you a "total beginner" when you started? Your learned everything on the way? If you say yes...

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    Hideo: beside nexic I know MANY developers who made a MMO alone... I don't want to make WoW call it webgame, flash mmo or boutique mmo, but something really small to see if I can make it, can make decent money, and I like to work on it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Varney View Post
    Some people may wish to read my Escapist #75 article "Boutique MMOGs," which lists a few dozen MMOs produced by small teams on very low budgets. It's out of date now, but its point still stands: Some of these games are respectably successful, and a few are huge. (See also the article's companion blog entry "Your own MMOG?")
    Thanks, reading them now, they're very interesting

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    Hideo:
    I had a few years experience as an indie developer, but I knew almost nothing about servers/networking when I started, and had to learn on the way. That point is kind of void anyway since the OP, Jack is definitely not a 'total beginner'.

    Also, you said "any single dude without millions can't do it".
    Last edited by Nexic; 03-25-2010 at 05:07 AM.

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    Thanks nexic but as for online/network and mmo I guess I can be considered a total beginner...
    I did some research. Google App engine sounds very cool, I can code in python At this point I think could already make a mmo/online game with python (renpy)+google app engine but I'm looking to see if I can integrate ajax or (less likely) even some part in flash in my game idea to have a full webgame.
    Even a simple downloadable online game would be already a good result for me (is more an experiment anyway).

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    Google app engine certainly seems interesting for an MMO. I'm a bit worried that it is not suitable though, what with the bigtable and possibly other issues. Anyone know of an MMO running on app engine?

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    It all really depends on what you want to do, how you want it to look and how long you have to make it.

    php/asp route is the most restrictive design wise as your limited by what you can do with html. There are some things you can do to get round that but it's still limited. It's also bandwidth intensive compared to the other methods and not realtime. Plus due to the nature it's also more intensive server resource wise. On the plus side it's probably the easiest and quickest way to do an MMO game, more likly to work anywhere (work places restrict use of installed programs and flash) and easiest for adverts to be used.

    Flash is inbetween the two, easier design wise though what you can display is limited by flash itself. Not sure what it's like to program as i took a look at it years ago and ran for the hills hugging my copy of delphi 7. If you took the time to learn the programming it's probably the best for a small developer. You could also probably create your own activex client but there is a problem of people questioning the security.

    client/server is probably the best in terms of being free to do what you want as your only restricted in what you can do and not what your using can do. It's also going to take the longest to make and hardest to promote. It's also the most likly to make you the most money per person as well, especially if it's done well.

    I think the biggest factor is the fact that facebook and the like have allowed some companies the ability to make some games and capture a lot of users quickly but i don't expect very many companies to be able to do that but the illusion that zagna is big this is the best route to go is pulling developers in and finding that it's not as easy as it looks as people are getting annoyed with all the request to play a game in facefook (the ship has left the dock and is sailing away)

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    "php/asp route is the most restrictive design wise as your limited by what you can do with html"

    What kind of design restrictions PHP imposes on you? How could you say that LANGUAGE is bandwidth intensive? Yeah, like AJAX calls are really expensive compared to Flash AMF.
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    Thanks for the post, very informative. Can I ask you some questions?

    php/asp route is the most restrictive design wise as your limited by what you can do with html
    What if you use ajax though? not like flash, but you can have some dynamic content on screen. my game would be niche so not really lots of anims, so ajax would work just fine (I never tried the language though)

    client/server is probably the best in terms of being free to do what you want as your only restricted in what you can do and not what your using can do. It's also going to take the longest to make and hardest to promote. It's also the most likly to make you the most money per person as well, especially if it's done well.
    Why you think is the longest to make? assuming you use something like python or TGB which has all the network stuff built-in, I can just call php/python script on the server to make the logic of the game (remember my particular case is turn-based without direct interaction with other people apart trading, forming alliances, etc).

    Also why you say it's most likely to make more money? that's the opposite many people are saying

    p.s. and yes I agree with you about FB!

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    i don't expect very many companies to be able to do that
    www.appdata.com <--- yeah, not a lot, just hundreds of companies.
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    What if you use ajax though? not like flash, but you can have some dynamic content on screen.
    Ajax and stuff you do with libs like jquery go a long way.

    Of course it depends what you are planning on doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hideo View Post
    Were you a "total beginner" when you started? Your learned everything on the way? If you say yes...
    I was a "total beginner" when I built Golemizer and yes I was alone and it was done part-time over 1 year ...

    Yes it's making money. No not a whole lot but it's now online for over a year with a core player base and it's slowly expanding as I'm receiving distribution offers.

    Perfect? No. Could it have been done in a better way? Yes but you have to learn somewhere.

    All I know is that I now have experience in building and maintaining an MMO which is more than all those people pretending an MMO requires a huge team and millions.

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