Pro / cons of the various kind of MMOs ?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Jack Norton, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Jack Norton

    Jack Norton
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    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!
     
  2. Tobias

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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)
     
  3. Jack Norton

    Jack Norton
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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
     
  4. bantamcitygames

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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 :p
     
  5. tolik

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    Music, animations - etc - all possible, take a look at lordofultima.com and other similar games.

    Social games could be AJAX as well - take a look at Mafia Wars.

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

    Yep, you'll get few thousand new players per day if you'll submit an app to facebook directory (if it will still exist).

    Please try Farmville or most of other social flash games.

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

    Yes, it is hard to debug/maintain alone, that's why you need a team.


    Marketing of a downloadable game is 3x times more expensive than web game.

    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.
     
  6. Jack Norton

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    Heh was expecting your post :D
    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).
     
  7. Allen Varney

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    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.
     
  8. tolik

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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.
     
    #8 tolik, Mar 24, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  9. Nexic

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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.
     
  10. tolik

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  11. Jack Norton

    Jack Norton
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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 :eek:
     
  12. tolik

    tolik
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    By denying mainstream genres you deny your bright future.
     
  13. Jack Norton

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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!
     
  14. Hideo

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    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.
     
  15. tolik

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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.
     
  16. zoombapup

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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.
     
  17. Hideo

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    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. :)
     
    #17 Hideo, Mar 25, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  18. Allen Varney

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    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.
     
  19. Nexic

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    You are so wrong it's not even funny.

    Dead Frontier was created by me (alone) on a budget of less than $1000.
     
  20. Hideo

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    Were you a "total beginner" when you started? Your learned everything on the way? If you say yes...
     

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