Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 54

Thread: The future of gaming

  1. #1
    Administrator Ratt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    533

    The future of gaming

    I'm going to kick off the pulpit with a fairly broad topic. On the WinSEQ thread, there was a fairly intricate debate about the future of gaming, but it was partially lost in some of the other topics going on in that thread, and I thought it deserved it's own topic.

    In that thread, I postulated that gaming as we know it is going to change, before we see another phenomenon such as EverQuest.

    I'm going to briefly recap some of my observations in the other thread. If you would like the whole effect, you can visit it here http://seq.sourceforge.net/showthrea...5&pagenumber=2 .

    EverQuest represents a paradigm shift in gaming, and specifically online gaming, which is a subset of general gaming. As I stated, I don't believe EverQuest itself is at fault for this, but it just happened to be in the right place at the right time. If Verant/EQ hadn't done it, another game would have.

    I'm talking about the fact that there will never be another game like EverQuest, until we reach the next step of gaming, and that is real life, real time RPGs... Holodecks, or something to mimic real life as real as... life itself. IE - virtually indisinguishable from reality. The problem we are facing now is that computer graphics are very good. Are they real? No, of course not, but FMV in games has shown us that graphics that are too real actually detract from the game play experience. There needs to be an element of unreality in a game visually, or it's too unsettling or ridiculous for even the most avid gamer.

    So that leaves us with an almost real, 2D world that we stare through our 15 - 25" window to another world. 3D monitors aren't the solution, although they may provide some interesting takes on current gaming design. Even with a 3D monitor, it's still a little mini world we are looking in on from the outside, the same as it's been since TV was first invented. The next step in that evolution is to put us INSIDE that mini world, so we are looking out and around and actually become part of it. In the meantime though, we are going to have to suffer through our limited senses of sight and sound... perhaps a bit of touch if you have a vibrating mouse or joystick or something. There's no sense of smell... you can't smell the decaying bodies in a dungeon. You cant' smell the dirt and leaves around you in forest. Sound is even trickier... yes, we have 5.1 DD sound, but I have yet to find a computer game that lives up to reality. In fact, I have only found a couple DVD's that even get close to Good, Quality sound. Sound is one of the most neglected aspects of gaming (and movies) and it's a real shame. A good sound track (I'm not talking about music) can make a medicore game into something stellar. So little attention is paid to sound, it's sickening, it's all about visual. Auditory stimulus is at leave 50% if not more of any current gaming experience, or at least it should be. I think part of the problem here is that most users have little tinny speakers for their computer, and thus wouldn't be able to take advantage of quality sound in a game anyway. But I'm digressing -- my point is that we are engaging only 2, maybe 3 of our five senses when we play games.

    In the early days of radio, we engaged one, hearing. Then TV came along and we engaged two. We've engaged two for the past 50 years, and are only now starting to engage a third, touch. Those first three are the easiest, because they are the least sensetive sense we possess. To engage our other two, taste and smell is going to require vast new technologies, and is part of the reason we won't be seeing ground breaking new games anytime soon.

    EverQuest was unique because it filled a gap, that of continuity. UO (And some of the lesser known games like M59, etc...) tried to fill this gap, but it was too shallow to do a very good job. EverQuest filled this niche nicely, with it's massive time sinks and volume of players... and having effects be lasting, simply because of the time investment in each character. Unlike UO, if you did something bad, chances are you wern't going to restart your character and macro it up in a couple days to the same level. EQ provided accountability in some limited fashions.

    Immediate future games (Shadowbane, etc...) are going to build off of the lessons learned in EQ, but any EQ player will be able to pick up DAoC, AC, AC2, SB, etc... and feel right at home within a couple days. Can you say that when you first picked up EQ? I was an avid FPS player, as well as an avid UO player... but it took me a long, long time as those things go, to get a handle on EQ and feel totally confident. That's because it was a paradigm shift in progress. I couldn't save the game at a safe point. If I ran away from a monster, there's no guarentee it would still be there when I got back. There were lots of little things and some major things that made EQ different, and all the games coming out now are just more of the same stuff... dressed up a little nicer, with more manners, etc... but still the same.

    I can't envision anything different at this point. What more can you do? Well, Raistlin had some thoughts from the other thread, and here they are. I'll respond to them below.

    And quoting this I would have to say Ratt, that I completely disagree with your VERY WELL WRITTEN post about the future of gaming. I do not see the future of "Gaming" changing. I don't believe we need a holodeck to have a good game. What I am hearing however is a bunch of people who have been swindled into believeing that EQ is the best it can get. A bunch swindled into believing that the "Endgame" as you put it is the ONLY place to be. And in EQ it is. However, i'm going to ask you Ratt (and everyone reading this post) to go back to your last session of AD&D (now D&D). What level were you? 30s? 20s? even 10s? More likely you were between 1 and 10. And what character number was this for you? 20? 50? In all the time you've played the ORIGINAL RPGs did you ever get tired of progressing from level 1 to 10? Did you ever dread "starting over?" You talk of the initial levels you went through being like going through the Army. Jesus, what kind of massichists are we here? Gaming has always been and will always be about having fun. About doing something interesting. The problem with EQ is that interesting is defined as "getting together with 30 of your guild mates and attacking mega bad-ass mobs for phat leut." And thus the piss poor planing on Verant's part is revealed. The low end game is work because ITS NOT FUN. In reality, the beginning game is nothing more than YET ANOTHER timesink, it's the ULTIMATE timesink, it's the amount of time you have to spend before you can start having fun. There is NOTHING to do besides level. Why else is it described as "churning", "grinding", etc.?

    We don't need holodecks, we don't need flashy uber graphics. All the flashy graphics in the world won't correct what you're feeling Ratt, or what the rest of us are feeling. We need to have fun. We need to have something to do. Verant created a game with HUNDREDS of possibilities in the character creation process, then did what every other RPG has done to date...gave everyone the same goal and only one way to meet that goal.

    Contrast this with your table top RPG days under a good GM.

    It'll only take one company with foresight. One company with brains. One company that thinks outside the very very small box that are RPGs today to blow this wide open. One company with enough sense to treat characters in an online world the same as we treat people in the real world and to treat the online world the same as we treat the real world to give you a game that will play and act like an RPG, not a pre-written storybook who's first 200 pages are given over to describing the castle the players start in.

    I lament the fact that I don't have the money or the technical know how to build this game, but I wait with eger anticipation for that one company with vision to wake up and realize that entertaining the RPG masses is NOT rocket Science.

    The face of gaming hasn't changed, you just realized that the game you were being fed as the here all end all be all of RPGs is in fact almost as bad as the rest of them out there.
    He brings up some very good points... but the fundamental flaw in this is the fact that gaming and fun to me are not necessarily the same things to you. I actually only played D&D a few times... I was a bigger fan of GammaWorld, Albedo and Battletech But the principals were the same. The problem is, though, I thrive on competition. I want to be the best as I compete against others. Some people have called me a showman, and it's true. But that may not be why YOU play a game. To me, though, a game is about competition and winning. If there's no goal, there's no reason to play, for me.

    So without a fundamentally different medium to play in, the games coming out now are just EQ clones with some tweaks here and there. I've been there, done that, don't need to do it again. I've won at EQ (as much as anyone can win) ... I know I could do it again in another game if I wanted to, but I've already proven to myself that I can DO that. What I haven't proven is if I can really BE that class... by waving my arms, jumping around, memorizing spells, pulling that 100lb bow, twisting, turning, etc...

    That's why I say that the next step is a holodeck type device. Everything is is just more of the same old stuff. I already addressed the "low end game" part, but to summarize... does it suck? Yep. Sucks big time, but the problem is, if everyone could be in the endgame, then there's no sense of accomplishment. No sense of having overcome something that not *everyone* else can also overcome. The low end game is needed to give the end game meaning. I honestly don't know how that can really be overcome... you have to have things that people don't WANT to do as a rite of passage into the things people want to do, otherwise, everyone will naturally gravitate to doing what they want to do, every day, all day. It's the same with rich people... they are not signifigantly happier than poor people, each class of people report the same general level of happiness. Why? It's because it's the struggle of moving forward that's fulfilling, not actually being there. That's why the low end drugery is needed to make the end game what it is.

    Now, when the game turns to something physical, such as lifting that 100lb sword, or memorzing arcane spells that you must speak, complex hand movements, the pain of pushing yourself to real, physical limits, that will provide a new gaming experience. When I can feel the soft ground, or rough cavern walls under my finger tips, and I can feel the hot breath and sharp fangs of that wolf trying to rip out my throat, that will be the test I measure myself against others. When I can feel the searing heat and smell the rotting meat from the dragons breath, just before it fries me to a cinder through excrutiating pain... then I will know that I am able to go beyond what "just anyone" can do, because I can endure those hardships to develop my skills and overcome the obsticals.

    That is what EQ provided, because it hadn't been done before... but now that it's been done, all the games after it won't provide something so fundamentally new, and that will be their downfall, in so much as they, individually, will never be as popular and fanatical as the EQ fan base was at it's peak. There may be stepwise refinements along our path to a true virtual reality, some providing a flurry of new activity and wonder, a spark, but it won't have the lasting power that EQ has enjoyed, because it's not really new... just dressed up, tired old ideas.

    Bring on the pain... beat me, whip me... make me work for the next gaming goal.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    143
    Everquest did for online gaming what Doom did for first person shooters and CnC did for RTS. Nothing has really gone beyond the original doom - sure they've gotten more freedom with level design and monster AI has become slightly better but it's still the same old thing over and over again. Wolf3D just wasn't quite immersive enough to get there (like UO). Similarly RTS games have just been extensions of resource gathering over and over again. It gets tiring.

    Will there ever be another game as revolutionary or as singly popular as EQ - probably not. There will definitely be "best of breed" games that follow though, as we have Warcraft 3 and UT2003 today. I don't think it's a good reason to despair of gaming's future though - just as people continue to play and the battle for the customer dollar goes further the games become better and better. Some companies stand out above the rest: iD, Blizzard, etc. The question with EQ is what will Sony/Verant make of its future.

    The next generation of gaming will come not with new senses to titillate (although that will definitely expand our horizons) but when a new gaming paradigm is developed. What it will be I really don't know - it all depends on where technology leads us for the next few years.

    Personally I think the real key to a good RPG is monster AI. No game I've yet seen has decent monster AI that actually makes you think too hard about what you are doing. "Splitting" monsters should be exceedingly difficult. Monsters shouldn't sit at their spawn spot for indefinite periods of time. Monsters should spawn away from players (like I've heard happens in SWG). That sort of thing. I think good AI is the direction things will progress over the next 10 years of gaming, not towards the extra senses.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    10
    The games will all innovate in some ways... In February the GeForceFX card will be released..... That card will be the biggest evolution yet.

    A large change from textured polygons.... to cinema CG quality materials with depth of field.

    EQ 2, built with this technology from the ground up, will likely be as revolutionary as the first.

    Holodecks are a long way off, I plan on enjoying all the games and all the new technologies as they come.

    tommorrow my new system arrives....

    3.06ghz with HTT
    1gb ddr
    200gb w/8mb performance enhancing cache
    Winxp pro

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    1,262
    I dont have alot of input on this topic, but here is an interesting article that was linked to from slashdot yesterday, where the future of gaming is discussed (including many of the issues already discussed here and the other thread):

    http://www.gamespy.com/futureofgaming/spector/

    It is an interview with Warren Spector, studio head at Ion Storm. He has been involved at lots of games, including some commercially succesful, and arguably innovate ones. I had the opportunity to sit next to him at a local game developers luncheon, and he is an all around nice guy. He was very interesting to talk to over lunch.

    --Jeeves
    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    55
    I think in that article the biggest challenge and chance for a new kind of genre defining game is slightly indicated.

    Right now we are just consuming ready-made content. It might be more involving than TV, but you can not advance without following the path.
    To me the next step that can hold people will be games that not only offer permanent Avatars, but a evolving enviroment. Once you kill something it will be dead. Leaving room for something new. Genetic codes filling the gap and neural networks controlling the living world. Right now it is cheating if you use gravity flux "to skip content". On the next generation of RPG the citizens will have learned their roof/floor is a weakness. The King will decide to stay in some sort of bunker instead of a open hall and new guards will be recruited using bows to fight players from above.

    Concepts make games and our imagination is enough to make it real, once we get involved. Sorry Ratt, but to me Holodecks are just another step in display technologie. It is the combat and non combat AI that makes holodecks feel real.

  6. #6
    Administrator Ratt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    533
    Those are some good points brought up about AI, and I agree for the most part. The reason I didn't and don't think AI is going to be the next paradigm because it will be part of the stepwise refinement process and we'll be gradually broken into increasingly complex AI.

    Each year, the AI gets a *little* better in games, and over time, it will produce a superior gaming experience, but it won't be a true paradigm shift, like full immersion gaming. Of course, maybe in some dark back room, someone is working on an AI to end all AI's, and they'll unveil it in a couple years and prove me wrong. Great, I hope that's the case.

    Another issue I would put forth with truely competent AIs is... would you really want to play against one? You'd get your ass handed to you in about 20ms. A real AI with approaching human intelligence would trounce a real human. So it would have to be dumbed down fairly substantially, and trying to balance a smart/dumb system would make the current balancing activities in games look like pre-school games. In addition to that, you would know you are playing against the dumbed down version... because you suck too much to play against the full version, I don't know if I'd like that. I'm not sure how to handle a situation like that either.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    22
    Another issue I would put forth with truely competent AIs is... would you really want to play against one? You'd get your ass handed to you in about 20ms. A real AI with approaching human intelligence would trounce a real human. So it would have to be dumbed down fairly substantially, and trying to balance a smart/dumb system would make the current balancing activities in games look like pre-school games. In addition to that, you would know you are playing against the dumbed down version... because you suck too much to play against the full version, I don't know if I'd like that. I'm not sure how to handle a situation like that either.
    This is very prevalent in games like Warcraft and the such, if you turn the difficulty up and save a replay or 2, you can see how fast the computer can do things and how many things it can do at once. Humans don't have this option and to me it's unfair. Though we humans make up for the lack of speed with ingenuity. If the AI had the ingenuity of a human and the speed of a computer, no I wouldn't want to play against it because it wouldn't be fun. I'd rather see them lower the speed at which AI can do things such as building in Warcraft, and increase the intelligence of the AI. Though that is the whole point, if they could do that I'm sure it would have been done already.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    55
    Actually I think the tough part will be to create somewhat not dump as earthworm AI that is fast enough to match a human.
    Computers are only fast using deterministic special tailored algorithms. If it is explicit allowed to make use of any flaw in that algorithm no whatever good algorithm could withstand the creativity of humans, no matter how fast it acts. This is where we are now and the only way for SOE to keep their AI competitive with the players is to forbid outsmarting the AI (actually I don't like the term AI in current games context because we are way too far away from any form of true intelligence)

    However if you plan to come up with some intelligence that is smart enough to match humans for months it would be sooo slow it would be no fun to play against at the present moment.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    154
    Ratt it sounds to me as though your are saying the next gaming challenge for you, personally, will be some sort of Virtual Reality game. Most notably you look forward to the ability to feel something as you play it, as well as seeing and hearing it.

    If this is what you are thinking, then I agree totally with you. In fact I think we're already seeing the infancy of VR technology within the gaming industry. Specifically the use of force feedback devices.

    Admitedly the current crop of FF devices are very infantile but I personally believe they will eventually take off into the next level of gaming. They won't necessarily be FF devices but they will be something along the lines of the broader subject of VR devices.

    However, in talking about these devices what we are really talking about are HARDWARE devices and not the software (games) themselves. So in order for the next level to be reached, we're going to need some very specific integration between software programmers and hardware programmers. In other words the guys that make the games will either have to be writing code for the specific use of certain VR hardware OR the guys that make the games will have to be the same guys that make the VR hardware. Although there is one other small (and still remote) possibility. That is the evolution of a VR hardware standard.

    A VR hardware standard would be something similar to Windows but specifically aimed at the hardware end of the spectrum. Some sort of VR hardware that is modular and adaptive. Something that ALL game developers can use, similar to what DirectX does for software. This way they can develop game titles that eventually *everyone* can play because *everyone* has some form of BrandX VR Hardware, similar to how *everyone* has some form of Windows and DirectX. Of course this is just my imagination at this time, but I really believe the next big gaming revolution will start with some form of VR.

    Any thoughts or comments? (I love this discussion BTW.)


    Hobo



    P.S. - Just for fun sake check out this URL: http://ivibe.com/

    It's for a game seat *cusion* that provides force feedback types of "feelings". I have one of these units and I really like mine. It is EXCELLENT for use in race car and flight sims (especially WW2 fighter sims) but is kind of limited for use in games such as EQ. It provides "bumps" and "pressure" to your back and butt to simulate bullets hitting your aircraft, engine vibrations, turning sharp corners, etc., etc. Unfortunately because it mainly utilizes direct sound output from your soundcard it doesn't translate well into EQ types of encounters as you end up *feeling* the casting of spells (on anyone not just yourself) and any other sound related stuff. However, I think the system does take a tiny step in the right direction.

  10. #10
    Registered User fgay trader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    117
    Good points, everyone.

    "The future of gaming" is a topic broad enough to encompas many topics. One of them is innovations in technology, such as better graphics or sound, which usually leads to discussions about more powerful computers, new CPU's and GPU's, up to Ratt's Holodecks But are bigger and better computers the answer to a better game?

    What is it that makes for a "better" game anyway? What made Doom, Command & Conquer, and Everquest into such hits as they were in their time? After all, their genre of gaming was not new at the time: there was Wolf3d before Doom, Warcraft before C&C and UO before EQ. Was it only technology that set those games ahead? True, each one of them was more advanced than its predecessor, but I don't think anyone can say that Doom was just a Wolf3d on a better engine. Each of the games I mentioned brought something new in terms of content that appealed to gamers of that field. Doom brought us a much deeper engagement with its gloomy dungeons and scary monsters than Wolf ever hoped for. EQ gave us that unparalelled massive-multiplayer portion and mixed it with "in-your-face" feeling of involvement along with tons of content to explore and character development options.

    Take First Person Shooters, as an example. Every FPS that came after Doom was more of the same: darker dungeons and scarier monsters only with better graphics. But that dirrection of FPS is slowly giving way to another concept: multiplayer. Quake's Team Fortress pit the players against each other instead of AI; Half-Life's CS introduced even more game types besides CTF and tried to incorporate voice; Tribes took a revolutionary step by taking players out of claustrophobic dungeons into an open field; Battlefield 1942 took away Tribes' jetpacks and put us on the WW2 arena and gave us more vehicles. Although each newer game looks better than the one before it, it's not just looks that make people want to play it, but new also features and concepts.

    Most of the MMORPG's that are out there already or are coming out shortly try to ride on EQ's success but as Ratt said, people are burnt out, they don't want to go through "low level hell" in order to feel real accomplishment towards the end-game. But that's already been done, we've seen it and it doesn't impress us if they add a better graphics engine, or even a "smell" engine. Even in a Holodeck EQ would still be its old self with its design flaws and limitations and stupid AI.

    Which brings me to another point: AI. The word "intelligence" implies something that today's games cannot possibly deliver. Predefined mob pathing, pre-scripted events, pre-programmed reactions, etc. does not make that mob intelligent. Even a cockroach is more intelligent than an Everquest mob. The game designers try to compensate this, they making monsters tougher to kill by giving them insane hitpoints or resists or abilities that require players to think up new ways of defeating it. But in the end that mob is still only as smart as the macro that drives it and will not learn when players use loopholes that weren't pre-programmed.

    IMHO, the next logical step in MMORPG gaming is giving the players the greatest challenge: other players. PvP in EQ was broken from the get-go, as the game was never designed that way. The level difference, equipment, abilities, etc. were completely unbalancing PvP combat, thus requiring designers to place artificial limits on who can fight whom, which led to a myriad of problems that I don't feel like getting into right now. But for me personally and many friends from the "red" servers the most exciting and challenging time in EQ was player Vs. player combat. No mob or NPC can ever compare to the inginuity of a human being driving the other toon. I cannot relay the feeling of achievement when you see an entire zone of players bolt for their lives in the face of an invading Barbarian horde (my mid-level guild often raided elf-infested zones ). And you know, during those raids I WAS that elf-hating, peck-punting, ale-drinking, xenophobic Barbarian when 10 of us ran through GFay slaughtering everyone in sight or while defending the homelands. Now THAT was the immersion and roleplaying experience that I crave from other games.

    But how can a game be designed that will work for every type of gamer: a hardcore powerleveller, a PvP-er, an avid roleplayer, a casual player or a complete newb? I do not think it can be. Those classes of gamers want completely different things from the time they invest in a game and when the game makers try to go for the common denominator, so to speak, they end up cutting features and imposing limitations to "level the playing field". That leaves people wanting more and turns them away to try the next thing. One way to please everyone is to make different games for every type of gamer there is, which is needless to say close to impossible. If I knew of another way, I'd be developing that game right now But I look forward to what other companies have to offer and will decide if that game or this one will work for me.

    Bottom line is, we will have our 20" window for a very long time before we can have the holodeck-type immersion that Ratt is talking about. It's up to each one of us to try different windows and chose which electronic world satisfies our passions the most and what type of game we want to play.

    Edit: spelling
    Last edited by fgay trader; 12-10-2002 at 01:02 PM.
    -FGay Trader er... GFay

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    3
    Nice post(s).

    A few comments on some things:

    While sight and hearing, as senses, were the first two "conquered" by modern technology, I would consider interactivity (be it with AI or with another person) an equally important factor in gaming, a factor that until recently (last 6 or so years) was unavailable.

    I would NOT call EQ a revolution in online gaming. It, simply put, was (and is) just like anyother RPG with the caveat that it has 1. more eyecandy, 2. A larger playerbase (but not players per server). I totally disagree that everyone is trying to "ride EQ's success" - many games were in concept/development before EQ was released. EQ simply became the most popular (it had to be someone). After Diablo and UO (in the days before powerful video cards), the only logical step was to transition from a 2D world to a 3D one. So no points for EQ there.

    UO gets first dibs on being 1. First true MMORPG with a large numbers of players per server, 2. First PvP that was worth a damn: PvP in EQ, is, at best, laughable and a joke.

    I say this as both an ex-UO player and a current EQ player. And I agree completely with what fgay trader said: The possibility of a "hardcore powerleveler, whiners, pvper, newbie, etc" all coexisting is impossible. We saw it in UO, and, in the end, the largest playerbase (yes, that would be whiners) won out.

    Personally, I favor lawlessness in games, where players are allowed greater "free will" and reign over their environment. UO provided that (at least, initially) much to the chagrin of many players. The game presented risk - risk that you would die and lose your stuff, risk that you would be killed at the hands of another player, and risk that leaving the safety of the cities could get you killed. With the core element (danger) removed from the game, UO became as much of a joke as EQ is, risk-wise anyways.

    The ethics mind-effects of online games is quite a topic, and I imagine any number of philosophers and pyschologists will, eventually, over analyze it to death. Lord knows what hell has been unleashed upon the Earth due to having a mixture of boys/girls in online games (the number of failed 'online relationships' is simply staggering). But I don't know if we want the thread to go there.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    1,262
    Personally, I favor lawlessness in games, where players are allowed greater "free will" and reign over their environment. UO provided that (at least, initially) much to the chagrin of many players. The game presented risk - risk that you would die and lose your stuff, risk that you would be killed at the hands of another player, and risk that leaving the safety of the cities could get you killed. With the core element (danger) removed from the game, UO became as much of a joke as EQ is, risk-wise anyways.
    I would argue that lawless games will always fail. Law is an essential part of any society, be it virtual or not. The anonymity provided by the internet gives people the ability to have absolutely no morals or ethics. We saw this in UO, it is the reason they had to change the game so much, they were faced with losing large segments of player base if they didnt. UO was a predator/prey model, the prey (who you refer to as whiners) stopped having fun, and started to leave. Somebody at Origin was smart enough to see that if the prey leave (which is the majority of the player base), the predators will also stop having fun and leave. My experience with UO was that generally speaking, as soon as you stepped out of the city to do just about anything, the fun stopped.

    I think the majority of online players do not like PVP, I think this is evidenced in the # of blue servers vs. pvp servers, as well as the popularity of low PVP games (EQ, AC) vs higher PVP games (AO, DAOC). The major problem with PVP is a lack of control, or long term punishment. You end up with PKs, griefers, etc... You will also find, I beleive, that the majority of casual gamers will never move to a PvP system. PvP, as it stands today, requires a significant time investment to be good at. Pretty much, those people that play more will be better (both the person, and the character). This leaves casual gamers at a severe disadvantage.

    I think we will see the MMORPG genre split into 2 different styles of games, those that are PvP based (SB), and those that are primarily PvE based. They cater to two fairly different segments of gamers.

    As for EQ not being groundbreaking.. i have to disagree.. 400,000+ people cant be wrong... That in itself is groundbreaking.

    --Jeeves
    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    3
    In regards to VR games and when they are coming... I first played a VR game about 11 years ago. A group was touring with a few VR sets chained together in a game. I saw it at a Dave & Busters. The game I played was a Mech war type game where you wore a VR helmet and sat in a cockpit. The VR helmet had separate optics for each eye giving very good 3D. The turret of the mech moved side to side and up and down with movements of your head. They also had another version where you and another stood in rings and had a shoot out in a hostile environment. You held a gun in your hand that controlled the gun's movement in the game world. Again, you were wearing a VR helmet for immersive 3D images and sound.

    It was a lot of fun and something that I expected to see migrating to arcades and then PCs. It's now many years later and I've yet to see it. No offense, Ratt, but I think you will be too old to physically perform by the time the VR that you are talking about is available. This leads to another point. How do children, out of shape people, handicapped individuals, women, etc. play in the game world that you are talking about? How does anyone but a star athelete swing that 15lb broadsword for an entire raid? Although I think it would be much better for the average gamer as far as helping them to keep in shape, I don't see it happening in the main stream. People play games to escape reality. Why would they play something that exposed their physical limitations?

    EQ just managed to hit a combination of many of the "hot" things available when it came out. It had passable graphics. It had a huge game world. It had a massive chat system. It had interaction with hundreds of others without leaving your home. It had hot wood elf chicks. It had things that "hooked" you much in the way that games like Civ 3 hook you. They may end up being repetitive and eventually called time sinks, but they still hook you.

    The problem with any MMORPG hitting the market now is that they are immediately far behind in game size and scope and player base. There is no way to get close to the size of EQ for an initial release. I agree that EQ is a phenomenon that the game world hadn't seen before. Then again, so were Pong, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Techmo Bowl, Space Quest, Sim City, Civilization, Doom, C&C, Warcraft, etc. The next thing will be different, but there will be a next thing. I think there is a lot of room for "next things" before we get to VR. I hope so, because none of us may be around to see holodecks.

    Great discussion guys!

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    62

    It's all about the story

    When a real-time, online game appears in which the story rules, it will make the next quantum step forward.

    The problem is that, unlike a movie, we want a game to test *our* resources and make *us* be the main characters. When you have 400,000 people to tell a story to, and each one demands a different, but intersecting experience, you need to work just as hard on the story-engine as you do on the graphics engine.

    I think everyone will agree that EverQuest's story engine is comprised of a huge pile of only loosely coordinated scripts that aren't very good at actually telling a story. Even those who treat EQ like a numbers game will be miffed if they log in one day to find that all of their stats are 10e+200 and they can't interact with anyone else in the game.

    So, how do you build a good story engine? First thing that you don't do is lean on the computer think like a human. I think for now, the computer isn't going to be getting any smarter than Halo's AI for quite some time.

    Ok, so what next? Well, SWG has one good idea: keep the quests general, and don't tie them to a particular location. Now take that another step. What is a quest? It's basically a story with the player as first-person. Take that concept and make it computer-controled. In EQ for example, there are a number of quests of the form, "go to this place, purchase this thing and bring it back to me". Well, why doesn't *every* merchant offer this sort of quest from time to time? It could be random, and have a reward appropriate to the difficulty. Why not?

    To go any further down that road, you need to be able to affect the world. EverQuest's successor will be a game where some characters can change the world. Killing a "boss mob" should mean that it's dead (as with waking the sleeper). Casting earthquake in a city should have dire consequences (probably getting you kos with the natives).

    I'm running out of gas on this one, but someday I'll collect my thoughts. Back in '88 I said I wanted to create an IP-based massively multiplayer game that would truely simulate a world (I called the game Mage, and I never finished it). When I saw EQ, I thought someone had finally done it, but there's still a lot of work to be done....

  15. #15
    Administrator Ratt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    533
    I'd like to touch on the PvP topic... I don't enjoy PvP myself, at least as I've seen it in games so far (FPS's not withstanding).

    UO PvP sucked because it was so shallow. There was no real chance for creativity (all cheating aside) and 100 hp is not enough to try tricky tactics.

    EQ PvP, as I'm sure we all agree, is laughable. Again, the problem arises that you can't get creative enough in current PvP games, and again, given the restraints of a keyboard and mouse, I don't think you can EVER get creative enough. I hope I'm wrong about that part...

    But the real failing of PvP online is accountability. There MUST be a way to be held accountable for your actions... across characters, servers, etc... Your entire online life (as pertains to that game) MUST be affected by your actions (unless you can get away with it not affecting you, more on that in a moment).

    The most obvious and easiest method to handle accountablity is to allow one character per account. Each time you kill someone, you are charged a fairly hefty fee to your REAL LIFE credit card. This puts a real consequence into your actions. Can you afford to be a crazy PK psychopath (that most PKers are) if you are charge $20 each time you kill someone?

    Another way to handle it is to imprison, or put to death your character if you are caught "by the authorities" for murder in an online world. PKers would think twice about actually going down the grief road if they would effectively lose their character for 3 months while he rots in a virtual jail. If you cancle your account for that time, your jailtime is suspended as well... so you have to pony up 3 months of subscription fee for nothing, other than looking at a jail cell. Wee...

    Put severe accountability in PvP, like there is in real life, and I would be all for PvP. Would it be worth it to bribe my way out of a jail sentence for $50? Yea, if someone pisssed me off bad enough...

    This opens up another avenue, as well... the hypothetical game that has accountable PvP could and indeed should, have their own auction site for selling your wares and such for RL money, and take a portion of the proceeds. That will level the playing field a bit between the rich people that play, and can consquently PvP more than the "poor" people.

    A slight skew on this is to make it costly with in game money to kill someone. How would you feel in EQ if you had to pay 1,000,000 plat each time you killed someone, or go to jail and pay your subscription for 3 months before you were let out? You'd probably think twice about it... but a guild could kill people on occasion, just not rampant killing.

    It's all about the accountability for PvP, and so far, no game has even come close to real accountability, which is why all PvP is just grief players for the most part, and thus holds no interest for 99% of the population.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts
HTML code is Off
vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On