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no, this is a sort of silly conversation. the network code is already written. the framework of verge online was a pretty good one. the problem is that mmogs require massive amounts of so-called content, are prime targets for hackers and people like Ear, and game balancing is extremely difficult, oh yeah, and they require lots of server resources.

Posted on 2004-03-05 01:51:15


A MMOG has so many layers of complexity. It would be absolutely catostrophic with VC, in terms of difficulty. Plus, it is infinitely more complicated than just making a game. I think any kind of mmog is going to have an even further decreased chance of completion. I wouldn't advise someone to do that.

Posted on 2004-03-05 01:53:53


...are prime targets for hackers and people like Ear...


Oh... brings a tear to me eye!

Posted on 2004-03-05 10:20:39


The way to approach an Verge-Online deal is to produce a working engine, some basic content, and then bring in some people within the community to produce more content. It's the way MUDs have survived for decades, and it works well with a focused community.

I believe you could drop the first M from MMOG in this case, as the VERGE community is pretty damned small. But an online classic Phantasy-Star style online game would be fun.

You'd have to have a primary group of coders who build out the systems (combat, skills, stats, etc), and probably a basic run at some content. Like a first pass at a continent and some dungeons to keep people busy for a couple of weeks while you get new people to come in and act as sort-of a "live team" like we see in the bigger games. The original team fixes bugs and adds features to the systems/engine, and the live-team just builds content. You could do this with probably two or three good coders on the engine team, and probably two or three content developers for the live team (assuming one is an artist).

As for security... keep it simple. Use some basic encryption that rotates, keep the character data in a mysql database somewhere behind a firewall, and do hourly dumps of the data. If someone breaks the game, big deal. You figure out how they got in, fix the hole, reload the data from the previous dump, and move on. I don't think anywhere here would care if they lost an hour of gaming on a free MMOG.

You could make it more secure by using proxies and a "front end" server. I've done some DirectX stuff with MMORPG-style engines, and building a director and resource allocator isn't hard at all. It's basically built into DirectPlay.

Wanna go one step further? Introduce messaging and agent technology. That's way over our heads (*throws gauntlet*!), but it's probably the "next way" to do hugely scalable online gaming... though that's probably not the goal here.

I honestly don't think it would require all that much effort to get something basic up and running... even if it just serves as a chat room with a combat engine and a map. Think about it more like it's a MUD... rather than thinking about it like a replacement for EverQuest.


Posted on 2004-03-05 17:11:55


Well, we basically had all of that built except the combat engine. You could run around, chat, switch maps, and trigger basic vc events (I don't remember exactly how far we got with that)..... You could even spawn NPCs, but they didn't move yet.

But, that really is a lot of effort. I mean, relatively, compared to making an "EverQuest replacement", maybe it's not, but compared to an average game, it's still a lot of work.

And we were definitely going for a smaller game, not EverQuest style, there's just no way we could pull that off.

It would take constant maintenance and a team always working on things. It's not like running CircleMud, which is an even simpler concept and has been in development for like 20 years now (starting with Diku, and I think there was even one before that). It wasn't until a year or two ago that they actually even got version 3.1 out the door, with all the major bugs fixed.

I think we all still have an interest in making Verge Online, but it is a major undertaking and even the simple stuff we produced (I think the most we ever had logged in at once was 10-12 people) still took a lot of work.

Who knows what'll happen in the future though. All this talk about VO makes me want to load up the old stuff and try it out again. There's obviously at least some interest still, judging by this thread.

Posted on 2004-03-05 19:23:27 (last edited on 2004-03-05 19:27:04)


I guess I'm saying that I don't really see it as being THAT much harder than making a straight up full-game. The networking code is clearly extra work, and so would the database stuff, but as far as content and functionality goes, a MMOG is basically just a single player game engine, with some multi-player fixings.

CircleMud is probably not the right thing to compare it to. More like LPMud. A set of code and an embedded scripting language. When you start an LPMud, there's lots and lots of functionality that needs to be created and coded. So you spend a month or so hacking out a character development system, a combat system, and some basic content. You put it up, get some friends to beat on some stuff, and basically treat it like a chat engine for a little while. Over time, as you hack in new features and add some new content, it gets bigger. I guess what I'm saying is... I see VERGE as the tools and materials... just like an LPMud. Getting it networked and whatnot is extra effort... but building a game around that, that's not that different than building a single player game. Sorta.

This is a major oversimplification, of course. But it's fun to think about.


Back to my grid-based combat system...


Posted on 2004-03-05 19:57:04


I hear what you're saying. I actually haven't worked with LPMud (or any muds besides DikuMuds) so I can't really comment there.

I know it doesn't seem like that much more work, but it really is. Game balance is just that much harder to pull off. There's so many little issues that come up, every little question is 5x more complicated when multiple users come into play.

If it were to get done, I do your think your approach would be the way to do it. Without some sort of funding, I think it would be almost impossible, otherwise. The content could be done by another team, as long as the core team was developing the engine and making everything work, but content needs to be balanced and someone has to manage it all. It's just a buttload of work.

But, very fun, oh yes.....

Posted on 2004-03-05 20:30:35


We could probably do it if we made it our full time jobs. ;D

Posted on 2004-03-05 20:59:48


Too bad we didn't have this conversation about a year ago. I've been living with 2 servers, a high-speed static DSL line, and a PIX box at my house. I just shut it all down, though, because I'm in the process of moving. ;|

Well, when I get to my next place I'll setup another network and we can revisit this if there is interest (couple of months, probably). By then the engine will be out (ha!), and maybe someone will have stapled on some primative networking code to start with. ;)

The way I see the teams working is this:

2-3 people dedicated to engine and client/server code. They would build out the functionality, build the key gameplay systems, and build a "public" library for the second team (content team) to use for building content. These folks would focus on code... both "under the covers" and core VC code. They would dictate character development (how many xp/level, how much damage does a level 3 monster do, how many hp a level 5 warrior gets, etc..), and those tables would be given to the world builders in Team 2 to use as guidelines for content. With VC, we are probably talking about struct and function defs, and data tables.

2-3 people on the second team, focused almost entirely on generating content. Ideally 2 artists and (at least) one coder for scripting. A small team with easy to manage goals. "This week we are going to build a mid-level dungeon. The coders have told us that mid-level monsters have this much HP, and here's what mid-level characters can hit for. Now let's draw some tiles, map it out, and build in some interaction. Place the mobs, and test." Since the functionality is already tested and running, and since the content team doesn't add features, most of the testing would be for balance.

With this process, as long as the content people follow the guidelines of the coders, balance shouldn't be that much of an issue. If it becomes a problem, and the content people really are following the coder's guidelines, then it's time for the coders to change their guidelines. No big deal. We are really just talking about tables of numbers.

Two small, dedicated 2-3 person teams could easily manage this process themselves. By keeping the teams small and compact and the resources simple, well-documented, and well-understood, there is no doubt in my mind that it could be successful, and truly not as overburdening as you think. In my mind, the hard part is getting the "under-the-covers" pieces working. ;)

If you give me a database-driven, online client/server architecture, I'll give you a game. Ironically, where you were in the old VO project... that's just about what I'm saying is the hard part. From that point on it just takes dedication... the hard stuff is getting it all working together. Making it fun is easier.

Like any creative endevor, the key is to not lose interest half-way through. We've all been there. I have a half-finished combat system open in TextPad right now. But instead I'm writing this long-ass post to show what a big brain I am. HA! If only you people knew... you would have never let me into your little gang... Muuhuuhuuhaaaahaaaaahaaaaaaa!


So Lore... maybe you and me could re-visit this in a couple of months, when I have my servers up and running again? How do you feel about BSD? *snicker*


ps... don't you think it's time we putup another VERGE MUD?

Posted on 2004-03-05 21:12:31


I realize, as I read my post... that this all smacks of effort.

I think I'm gonna go take a nap.


Posted on 2004-03-05 21:16:31


Haha..... Yeah, another VergeMUD. We've had like 3 or 4 of those running at one time or another. I'd have no problem running one on the server, but I can't manage it this time. Also, I don't remember why, but all the old ones failed for one reason or another.

Anyway, that's all good plan, but, like you said, it takes dedication. I certainly can't commit to what's necessary right now. We need other core verge dev members on board too, and I don't think there's enough willing to commit right.

Heh... as long as it's not a Windows server, I'm fine with BSD or Linux. I was okay with Windows for a little while there, but all the recent shit has reconfirmed my fears of Windows servers. Right now, I have a static cable line coming into my place, plus we've got several high speed connections at work, so the actual server stuff and bandwidth needed for testing and developing isn't an issue, but making it public would be more of a concern, because of the hacking attempts and so forth.

Shoot me an e-mail if you want to talk anything over more, but for all practical purposes, I don't think anything is going to happen with VO anytime soon. Getting the old stuff up and running just to fool around with it would be fun, though.

Posted on 2004-03-05 21:27:20



Yeah. The need for actual effort sinks all the big plans. All well. It's fun to talk about.

At this point I'd be happy with some mapping code and tools. :) That'll occupy enough of my time! Phantasy Star V! I'm comin fer ya!


Maybe soonish!

I should really check my email. Maybe I'll go play some Ninja Gaiden. Boy that pillow sure looks comfy.



EDIT: WOOOT! I just performed my first full round of combat in my combat system! *does the _I rule_ dance*

Now I can sleep in peace, knowing that I made SOME progress.


Posted on 2004-03-05 22:11:55 (last edited on 2004-03-05 22:13:17)


Locke, after reading your comments in this thread, I must nominate you for full-on lunacy.

...welcome to our club, me boy.

Posted on 2004-03-06 13:58:44


Do I get a senior discount?


Posted on 2004-03-06 18:24:01


Bah, quit your whining...

...Gunny's older ;D

Posted on 2004-03-06 19:19:19


Is gunny a raving loon though?

Posted on 2004-03-06 22:48:13

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