Saturday, 8 November 2008

Notes on MMORPG Tycoon

I stumbled across MMORPG Tycoon while checking out the recent TIGsource competitions. It was one of the entries in the now finished procedural generation competition.

My semi-developed world
What made the game stand out from the rest was the use of vector graphics. It was made using a framework called VectorStorm, which was also created by its author. It turns out VectorStorm was written for this purpose, to allow programmers to prototype games without having to source graphics to make them meet a minimum standard of presentability.

The screenshot above is the view of the game world. The various elements featured are:

  • Subdivided areas are the different zones in the game world.
  • Numbers labelling a zone are the level ranges which it is suitable for.
  • Houses are the towns.
  • Squares are starting areas.
  • Circles are respawn points.
  • Dots are the individual players within the game. In order to see these, you need to zoom right in using your mouse wheel.
The management of the abstract simulated world doesn't do much for me in and of itself. I find it hard to reconcile what is going on in the world within the visible level of abstraction. What interests me about this game is that the abstract view it provides resembles something I have wanted for my MUD.

Hand coding rooms and the linkages between them is an approach I consider unnecessary. As is building a representation of the same with data. I want a procedurally generated landscape, where the generated world is built upon. Rooms are just a view of a position you might be located at, constructed on the fly. We did an implementation of this on our MUD "Nameless Sorrows" back in the late nineties.

In order to build such a game world, you would be better off with an interface which better visualises it. Not text. Perhaps a 2D view in the spirit of what MMORPG Tycoon provides. And being able to take that view and extend it to view the live state of the simulation running within the game world is a natural next step. And, again, this would be in the spirit of what MMORPG Tycoon provides.

I don't have much interest in MMORPG Tycoon as a game. But as a prototype which inspires me to work on similar ideas for my own project, it interests me a lot.

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