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Race Ideas

TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member

There's something that's always provoked my curiosity in regards to the community: what races would you want to see incorporated into a game as playable?

Many development crews decide against non-humanoid races because of the obvious work that would need done regarding the animations and customized armor...but if you could have a development team implementing non-humanoid races, what would you choose?

I know that many enjoy the thought of a serpentine race such as the naga or some related species...but what else lies within the desires of those amongst the community? What racial abilities would you bestow upon these races, if any at all?

Make a list if you like, I just want to see the full spectrum of everyone's desires. I, myself, have always desired a more serpentine race similar to Naga, Lamia, Gorgons, etc...

I also had a fleeting interest in a parasitic race that could work independent of a host...or actually wear and "evolve" the husks of dead enemies as a form of armor. Without a corpse, they would appear like some horrific little insectoid creature...but upon burrowing into a dead corpse, they would augment the body in order to form a sort of armor that would turn them into an insectoid humanoid or beast variant of that creature.

Lots of work to make such a thing functional, but it was an interesting idea that crossed my head.

I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

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Comments

  • monochrome19monochrome19 Chicago, ILPosts: 455Member Uncommon

    Dragon, Phoenix, Gryphon, Cerberus, Fenrir, or any cool Demon. I love Demons.

    Oh, an Angel would be cool too.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,681Member Uncommon

    Do any MMOs have playable ratmen other than the cute EQ2 Ratonga? I think some serious ratmen would be fun to play.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
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  • crack_foxcrack_fox WellingtonPosts: 402Member

    I remember playing a game called the Nomad Soul some years ago. The central 'character' in that game was a disembodied entity that could possess the body of any npc in the game. I've always fancied the idea of playing a being like that in a game, progressing by possessing the bodies of increasingly powerful enemies. 

    Also Jawas. 

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,792Member Uncommon

    I want to get away from the idea that a game has a fixed list of races that you have to choose between.  I want players to be able to create their own race.  How many arms do you want?  How many legs?  Where do you want them to attach to the torso?  Do you want the character to run on both arms and legs, or just the legs?  Or maybe you'd rather skip running and roll around on wheels.  Or slither, as the original poster suggested.  Or flap your wings and fly (though not very high, for reasons of play balance).

    And then, of course, a player should be able to attach a tail, or antennae, or horns, or whatever he wants to the character.  And two heads, or none, or whatever other number he likes.  The game engine should then take the players choices and animate it procedurally.  Feet should step on the ground, rather than poking through it or standing on air, even when the character is on a slope.  Arms should move freely enough that melee attacks will actually aim at the target rather than stabbing a fixed spot in the air.  Tails, hair, and whatever else the player wants should bob somewhat as the player accelerates (whether forward, rotating, or whatever).  Characters should turn their head when they're looking at something, whether a mob or an NPC that you're talking to.

    And then, the textures.  Players should be able to create their own textures to apply to their characters.  Have some premade options where players just have to pick parameters, but also let players create things more versatile.  Let players pick "colors" (which can have some roughness rather than being solid colors), and draw this curve, this thick, from here to there.  Add some text or various geometric designs if you like.

    Oh, and it should all be procedurally generated, so that passing one player's character to another--including vertex data, animation data, and textures--only takes several KB.  That makes it small enough to stream on the fly to everyone else who needs to see the player.  For that matter, it would likely be faster to stream such data to other players and generate the character that way than to load a bunch of textures off of a hard drive, as most games have to do.

    And then once a bunch of players have each created their own race, you have a ton of races built into the game and can use them for mobs that the players fight.  Rather than fighting the same 30 monsters forever, or perhaps higher level or "elite" versions of the monsters that fight exactly the same as the normal ones except that they have more health and do more damage, you could have many thousands of totally different monsters to go fight.  You could find new monsters that you've never seen before and have to learn how they fight all over again, every single day.  Even if you play the game for years.

    Sounds impossible, you say?  I'm working on it.  I'm pretty sure that I can do it.

  • TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member

    Originally posted by crack_fox

    I remember playing a game called the Nomad Soul some years ago. The central 'character' in that game was a disembodied entity that could possess the body of any npc in the game. I've always fancied the idea of playing a being like that in a game, progressing by possessing the bodies of increasingly powerful enemies. 

    Also Jawas. 

    Interesting.

    The insect-like parasite race I was contemplating would use humanoid corpses as a means to present themselves in a more desirable manner to other races. It's rare that you have a humanoid species trusting a non-humanoid within the game...so this particular race chose to use ambassadors that resemble the other races to a minute degree so that interaction would be easier.

    In the sense of gameplay, each new corpse would be akin to a new set of armor. You burst from the old, and burrow into the new...then your character would take a few moments to craft that corpse into a regenerated husk of chitinous armor. Would require a good bit of balance and complexity to the overall system, but I have a feeling that it would provide quite the unique experience for the players as a whole.

    I can only imagine the player developed taunts...

    "When this is all over, I'm going to wear your flesh..."

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    I want to get away from the idea that a game has a fixed list of races that you have to choose between.  I want players to be able to create their own race.  How many arms do you want?  How many legs?  Where do you want them to attach to the torso?  Do you want the character to run on both arms and legs, or just the legs?  Or maybe you'd rather skip running and roll around on wheels.  Or slither, as the original poster suggested.  Or flap your wings and fly (though not very high, for reasons of play balance).

    And then, of course, a player should be able to attach a tail, or antennae, or horns, or whatever he wants to the character.  And two heads, or none, or whatever other number he likes.  The game engine should then take the players choices and animate it procedurally.  Feet should step on the ground, rather than poking through it or standing on air, even when the character is on a slope.  Arms should move freely enough that melee attacks will actually aim at the target rather than stabbing a fixed spot in the air.  Tails, hair, and whatever else the player wants should bob somewhat as the player accelerates (whether forward, rotating, or whatever).  Characters should turn their head when they're looking at something, whether a mob or an NPC that you're talking to.

    And then, the textures.  Players should be able to create their own textures to apply to their characters.  Have some premade options where players just have to pick parameters, but also let players create things more versatile.  Let players pick "colors" (which can have some roughness rather than being solid colors), and draw this curve, this thick, from here to there.  Add some text or various geometric designs if you like.

    Oh, and it should all be procedurally generated, so that passing one player's character to another--including vertex data, animation data, and textures--only takes several KB.  That makes it small enough to stream on the fly to everyone else who needs to see the player.  For that matter, it would likely be faster to stream such data to other players and generate the character that way than to load a bunch of textures off of a hard drive, as most games have to do.

    And then once a bunch of players have each created their own race, you have a ton of races built into the game and can use them for mobs that the players fight.  Rather than fighting the same 30 monsters forever, or perhaps higher level or "elite" versions of the monsters that fight exactly the same as the normal ones except that they have more health and do more damage, you could have many thousands of totally different monsters to go fight.  You could find new monsters that you've never seen before and have to learn how they fight all over again, every single day.  Even if you play the game for years.

    Sounds impossible, you say?  I'm working on it.  I'm pretty sure that I can do it.

    Quite possible,

    I think that the system would, however, be completely focused around this mechanic were it to work...and from what you've described it very much seems to be. In a sense, it comes off feeling like Spore in a MMORPG...which is something that could be very cool.

    Originally posted by monochrome19

    Dragon, Phoenix, Gryphon, Cerberus, Fenrir, or any cool Demon. I love Demons.

    Oh, an Angel would be cool too.

    I've always been quite smitten with Demons, or Daemons, myself.

    Dragons would make for an interesting race, and Gryphons reminded me of Sphinxes for some reason.

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Do any MMOs have playable ratmen other than the cute EQ2 Ratonga? I think some serious ratmen would be fun to play.

     

    Rat races really aren't highlighted enough, GW2 has a very cool little rat-like race but they're non-playable.

    I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

  • SavageHorizonSavageHorizon ParisPosts: 2,087Member Uncommon

    I would like the serpents out of Sen's Fortress to be a playable race in an mmo, to meet the god's one must pass through Sen's Fortress.

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  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon
    Vanguard had a few races I liked... the Vulmane (an anthropomorphized wolf) were my favorite.  The Raki (fox people) were also pretty cool.

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Whenever something feels like it would be fun but is hard to justify because of the time/effort required, make a game of it :)

  • TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member

    Originally posted by SavageHorizon

    I would like the serpents out of Sen's Fortress to be a playable race in an mmo, to meet the god's one must pass through Sen's Fortress.

    Personally, I've always been more fond of the serpentine lower bodies rather than the two legs when it comes to my snake races.

    Originally posted by dave6660
    Vanguard had a few races I liked... the Vulmane (an anthropomorphized wolf) were my favorite.  The Raki (fox people) were also pretty cool.

    Interesting, they look a little more Husky-like than wolf, but quite lovely.

    Originally posted by maplestone

    Whenever something feels like it would be fun but is hard to justify because of the time/effort required, make a game of it :)

    Agreed!

     

    Here's a few sketches I have done that I think would make for some fun races:


    I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

  • TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member

    Anymore thoughts?

    I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon

    Change "Ideals" to "Ideas" in your thread title. Two very different meanings hehe.

  • TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member
    Originally posted by Foomerang

    Change "Ideals" to "Ideas" in your thread title. Two very different meanings hehe.

    That was meant to express one's ideals in racial choices, but perhaps you're right in the sense that ideas may provoke more interest.

    I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

  • AmarantharAmaranthar OhioPosts: 2,434Member Uncommon

    You've included special racial abilities in this, so I first need to separate Themepark from Sandbox. Assuming here my definition of Sandbox, meaning "worldly" as well.

    If a game is Themepark, that opens it up to almost anything desired. But if it's Sandbox Worldly, then care has to be given to the thought of an open world where characters have the freedom to "go anywhere" (which does not mean a complete balance, I think of this as more like UO in it's heyday where players of widely varying skill levels can still play together).

    I want to talk about it from the Sandbox Worldly perspective. So with that in mind, racial special abilities need to be something that doesn't throw things off too much. And doesn't turn into a separation of player (like in Themepark) because "I win because I'm (-this race-).

    In order to accomplish that, I think racial abilities need to be looked at in two aspects. Some that don't offer "win" but give a race something unique, and some that would offer "win" but are balanced by some negative as well. Both aspects are tricky, and probably can't be done without a little bit of "win" regardless. But that's ok, as long as it's not too much. After all, skill gains do offer "win" in themselves. The whole point is to keep it from unbalancing game play in general.

    I'm going to use the original version of Horizons, by David Allen before he was pushed out and it was turned into a Themepark style of design.

    In that game design, they talked about this sort of stuff quite a bit. It was a very hot topic on the boards because they had some really cool ideas. But it wasn't fleshed out yet, and the topics were all about maintaining balance with these ideas.

    I'll start with your lizard-like race. I think they were called Sslick or something like that. They were going to be desert dwellers, and their primary racial special was going to be the ability to move faster on sand. We speculated that it was actually that they wouldn't be slowed down on sand like other races. This would have to be a huge difference in movement, but any difference could offer quite an advantage in hit-and-run tactics, especially in PvP. Being forced to wear light armor to allow this ability to work would definitely help balance this out, considering ranged attacks. But an individual would have to, they could accept the movement penalty (light penalty would be best) and wear heavier gear. This also adds some tactical aspects to group combat.

    (That's the sort of "balance" I'm getting at.)

    What this example of these lizard guys called Sslick(?) also adds is a defensive advantage in defending their homeland, the desert, in an open world PvP game (which doesn't necessarily mean "wide open PvP" as it could be "guild warfare for territory" type stuff). So it's possible to add to the game as a whole via these racial specials.

    They also were going to have a forest dwelling Cat Man race. These were going to have a racial special of night vision. I don't know what they had planned exactly around this, but lets suppose that the forests were dark, and this ability could add to the perception of a player. And perception was a skill in that game design. Spotting stealthers, seeing hidden items, etc., these sorts of things could be usefull if a game can actually separate lighted from darker surroundings. In this case, I'm not sure that this night vision is strong enough to unbalance game play too much. It might be all right on it's own, or it might need some balancing counter, like being paralyzed for a second or two if strong light were presented while using this ability.

    And this too would offer these Catmen a tactical advantage in defending their own territory.

    To me, this is cool stuff for a worldly game.

    But they (the original Horizons) were going to go beyond this sort of thing.

    They also were going to have special God Mode races. But these races would suffer perma-death. And on top of that, you'd have to start out young and survive to become truly powerful, while always having perma-death hanging over your head. These races were going to be things like Angels, Demons, and Sphinxes. (There were more, but I can't remember right now.)

    Player Dragons were supposed to be the ultimate God-Mode character. Perma-death, start out as a very yound egg hatch, and try to survive. On top of that, their body parts were going to be highly desired as spell/ritual components for casting special magics, giving other players a strong reason to hunt them down and kill them (permanently).

    However, the God-Mode characters also presented a problem of guilds using them to dominate game play. There was lots of talk about how to prevent that. Disease was a strong option for Dragons. How it would be implemented was never really conclusive. So there's a big problem with God-Mode races, even with perma-death for them. I do think that it possible though, but lots ,ore thought would be needed.

     

    Once upon a time....

  • TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member
    Originally posted by Amaranthar

    You've included special racial abilities in this, so I first need to separate Themepark from Sandbox. Assuming here my definition of Sandbox, meaning "worldly" as well.

    If a game is Themepark, that opens it up to almost anything desired. But if it's Sandbox Worldly, then care has to be given to the thought of an open world where characters have the freedom to "go anywhere" (which does not mean a complete balance, I think of this as more like UO in it's heyday where players of widely varying skill levels can still play together).

    I want to talk about it from the Sandbox Worldly perspective. So with that in mind, racial special abilities need to be something that doesn't throw things off too much. And doesn't turn into a separation of player (like in Themepark) because "I win because I'm (-this race-).

    In order to accomplish that, I think racial abilities need to be looked at in two aspects. Some that don't offer "win" but give a race something unique, and some that would offer "win" but are balanced by some negative as well. Both aspects are tricky, and probably can't be done without a little bit of "win" regardless. But that's ok, as long as it's not too much. After all, skill gains do offer "win" in themselves. The whole point is to keep it from unbalancing game play in general.

    I'm going to use the original version of Horizons, by David Allen before he was pushed out and it was turned into a Themepark style of design.

    In that game design, they talked about this sort of stuff quite a bit. It was a very hot topic on the boards because they had some really cool ideas. But it wasn't fleshed out yet, and the topics were all about maintaining balance with these ideas.

    I'll start with your lizard-like race. I think they were called Sslick or something like that. They were going to be desert dwellers, and their primary racial special was going to be the ability to move faster on sand. We speculated that it was actually that they wouldn't be slowed down on sand like other races. This would have to be a huge difference in movement, but any difference could offer quite an advantage in hit-and-run tactics, especially in PvP. Being forced to wear light armor to allow this ability to work would definitely help balance this out, considering ranged attacks. But an individual would have to, they could accept the movement penalty (light penalty would be best) and wear heavier gear. This also adds some tactical aspects to group combat.

    (That's the sort of "balance" I'm getting at.)

    What this example of these lizard guys called Sslick(?) also adds is a defensive advantage in defending their homeland, the desert, in an open world PvP game (which doesn't necessarily mean "wide open PvP" as it could be "guild warfare for territory" type stuff). So it's possible to add to the game as a whole via these racial specials.

    They also were going to have a forest dwelling Cat Man race. These were going to have a racial special of night vision. I don't know what they had planned exactly around this, but lets suppose that the forests were dark, and this ability could add to the perception of a player. And perception was a skill in that game design. Spotting stealthers, seeing hidden items, etc., these sorts of things could be usefull if a game can actually separate lighted from darker surroundings. In this case, I'm not sure that this night vision is strong enough to unbalance game play too much. It might be all right on it's own, or it might need some balancing counter, like being paralyzed for a second or two if strong light were presented while using this ability.

    And this too would offer these Catmen a tactical advantage in defending their own territory.

    To me, this is cool stuff for a worldly game.

    But they (the original Horizons) were going to go beyond this sort of thing.

    They also were going to have special God Mode races. But these races would suffer perma-death. And on top of that, you'd have to start out young and survive to become truly powerful, while always having perma-death hanging over your head. These races were going to be things like Angels, Demons, and Sphinxes. (There were more, but I can't remember right now.)

    Player Dragons were supposed to be the ultimate God-Mode character. Perma-death, start out as a very yound egg hatch, and try to survive. On top of that, their body parts were going to be highly desired as spell/ritual components for casting special magics, giving other players a strong reason to hunt them down and kill them (permanently).

    However, the God-Mode characters also presented a problem of guilds using them to dominate game play. There was lots of talk about how to prevent that. Disease was a strong option for Dragons. How it would be implemented was never really conclusive. So there's a big problem with God-Mode races, even with perma-death for them. I do think that it possible though, but lots ,ore thought would be needed.

     

    Right now, I've got a headache from overly brewed hibiscus tea...so it's possible that I'm not following your post to the best of my abilities. The intent of this thread was to discuss theoretical race concepts, but you seem to have delved into racial abilities in implementation over actual races themselves.

    With that said, I don't mind that at all...just threw me off a little. I have always enjoyed the idea of racial identity being portrayed within passive and active abilities amongst various races, and done so in a manner that provided racial abilities that would benefit every potential class...rather than simply a niche benefit for a few. Difficult to do effectively, but it's always my ideal.
     

    That aside, in regards to "god-mode" characters... I've always wondered why MMORPG development teams don't hire exceptionally adept role players to moderate their games and make them into semi-god-mode characters. If you think about it, moderators already have the ability to do as they please within these games and often play alongside other players. I have heard of WoW moderators helping out their friends and...pushing...the limitations they have in regards to their mod powers. I even have a female friend who plays WoW and has every last mount in the game...she hasn't paid for a single one though due to her mod connections.

    Might as well just give these moderators something unique to play around with and actively seek to hire legitimately adept role players to partake in the role of potential antagonistic THINKING characters within the game...or potential periodically random allies that could show up on a whim and help you out in a time of need. ...all while they continue their moderation duties in the background.

    Think of those people who do great at being a Dungeon Master in D&D. Make these people your moderators and give them custom characters with unique abilities to use. They play the part of a mod AND a unique facet to the game server they play on and moderate...providing an element of a thinking game element separate the players.

    Mods use their powers either way, might as well hire exceptionally adept role players to take up these roles and actually make the "abuse of power" interesting by giving them interesting and unique characters to play with (still telling them not to use the ACTUAL mod powers without reason.)

    Think, for example, that WoW world event Demon that came to attack the cities before The Burning Crusade was released. That huge demon that grew more powerful with every player death it caused... Imagine if that was, infact, a moderator controlling the creature instead of an NPC...a thinking element incorporated into the game.

    If I were to make a game, my moderators would have custom characters and I would seek out the best Dungeon Masters I could find and give them an adequate understanding of what I was looking for...

    Basically, moderate the game as a mod would...but use your special character abilities to throw in a little animated flavor into the game and breathe life. Maybe they start a cult, maybe they become a wandering warrior for hire, maybe a legend that people hear about but rarely see...who knows.

    I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

  • rainbowdashunicornrainbowdashunicorn New York, NYPosts: 12Member

    Angel

    Demon

    Half Angel

    Half Demon

    Nephilim

    Demi God

    Those are the races I've seen from several games. But when it comes to a completely new race I have no idea at the moment.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,792Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by TenebraeAeterna

    Originally posted by SavageHorizon

    I would like the serpents out of Sen's Fortress to be a playable race in an mmo, to meet the god's one must pass through Sen's Fortress.

    Personally, I've always been more fond of the serpentine lower bodies rather than the two legs when it comes to my snake races.

    Originally posted by dave6660
    Vanguard had a few races I liked... the Vulmane (an anthropomorphized wolf) were my favorite.  The Raki (fox people) were also pretty cool.

    Interesting, they look a little more Husky-like than wolf, but quite lovely.

    Originally posted by maplestone

    Whenever something feels like it would be fun but is hard to justify because of the time/effort required, make a game of it :)

    Agreed!

     

    Here's a few sketches I have done that I think would make for some fun races:

    There are (at least) two reasons why more diverse body types such as a serpentine lower body are virtually never playable races in MMORPGs.

    First, having all of your playable races the same shape means that they can all use the same armors.  You can easily accommodate taller and shorter races by simply stretching the textures as needed, and you can do the same for any other dilation.

    But what would pants or boots look like on a naga?  If a dragon has huge wings in its back, do they poke through chest armor, or worse, poke a moving hole in the armor as the wings move?  Having to have a separate set of armors for every race would massively increase the game development cost.  You can get around this by having only one or a few armors available for each race, but players wouldn't like that, either.

    Second, having to animate wildly diverse body types would mean that your standard animation methods simply don't work without major sacrifices.  Most playable races aren't merely bipeds, but also have the two feet near each other when standing still.  This means that even on slopes or uneven ground, you don't have one foot poking that far into the ground or floating that far in the air unless you're at the edge of a cliff.

    But if you're touching the ground in several places that aren't so close to each other, either some feet don't come anywhere near touching the ground, or some poke far into the ground, or both.  If you have a character on a smooth slope, you can tilt the character to compensate for this, and it will look all right, though if you tilt too far it will look like the character should fall over.  But if the ground is jagged or high curvature, this doesn't work.

    For non-playable races, you can get away with this.  Guild Wars 2 has spiders, for example, and their legs are rather spread out.  But you can control where non-playable races go; it's not a coincidence that in GW2, spiders are always in areas that are either completely flat or else a smooth slope, even though the game itself has plenty of places that fit neither of those descriptions.  That doesn't work for playable races, however, as players need to be able to go everywhere.

    Another potential fix is to simply make the entire game world flat or smooth slopes, with no jagged or curved ground areas anywhere in the game.  Alternatively, you can simply accept that your animations will be wildly wrong and look terrible.  But neither of those are satisfactory options.

    You can get around this with procedurally generated animations.  But that immediately means that your artists can't create the animations, as very few artists would have the necessary math background.  The people who do have the background will probably lack the artistic talent needed to make AAA graphics.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,792Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by TenebraeAeterna

    That aside, in regards to "god-mode" characters... I've always wondered why MMORPG development teams don't hire exceptionally adept role players to moderate their games and make them into semi-god-mode characters. If you think about it, moderators already have the ability to do as they please within these games and often play alongside other players. I have heard of WoW moderators helping out their friends and...pushing...the limitations they have in regards to their mod powers. I even have a female friend who plays WoW and has every last mount in the game...she hasn't paid for a single one though due to her mod connections.

    Might as well just give these moderators something unique to play around with and actively seek to hire legitimately adept role players to partake in the role of potential antagonistic THINKING characters within the game...or potential periodically random allies that could show up on a whim and help you out in a time of need. ...all while they continue their moderation duties in the background.

    Think of those people who do great at being a Dungeon Master in D&D. Make these people your moderators and give them custom characters with unique abilities to use. They play the part of a mod AND a unique facet to the game server they play on and moderate...providing an element of a thinking game element separate the players.

    Mods use their powers either way, might as well hire exceptionally adept role players to take up these roles and actually make the "abuse of power" interesting by giving them interesting and unique characters to play with (still telling them not to use the ACTUAL mod powers without reason.)

    Think, for example, that WoW world event Demon that came to attack the cities before The Burning Crusade was released. That huge demon that grew more powerful with every player death it caused... Imagine if that was, infact, a moderator controlling the creature instead of an NPC...a thinking element incorporated into the game.

    If I were to make a game, my moderators would have custom characters and I would seek out the best Dungeon Masters I could find and give them an adequate understanding of what I was looking for...

    Basically, moderate the game as a mod would...but use your special character abilities to throw in a little animated flavor into the game and breathe life. Maybe they start a cult, maybe they become a wandering warrior for hire, maybe a legend that people hear about but rarely see...who knows.

    One problem with that is the cost.  Hiring moderators costs money, so you necessarily have massively more players than moderators.  If you spend a large fraction of your operating budget on a human dungeon master mechanic that players only get to experience infrequently, that seems rather inefficient.

    There's also the issue of bias.  Even when we don't like machine AI, it's usually perceived as being "fair".  With humans controlling the AI and making choices, you'll immediately get the strong perception of bias, with moderators playing favorites.  And that's even if the dungeon masters do an excellent job; the occasional example of clear-cut bias will make the perception much, much worse.

  • rainbowdashunicornrainbowdashunicorn New York, NYPosts: 12Member

    Most certainly there will be that "favorite".

    Though it might be lucky if it's not very one-sided. I mean if several players have several favorites of their own and their proportion are not that high. New players would spend more time thinking about it and may even pick their own favorite making another new favorite...increasing the diversity having several players using different races.

  • TenebraeAeternaTenebraeAeterna Florence, SCPosts: 34Member

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Originally posted by TenebraeAeterna

    Originally posted by SavageHorizon

    I would like the serpents out of Sen's Fortress to be a playable race in an mmo, to meet the god's one must pass through Sen's Fortress.

    Personally, I've always been more fond of the serpentine lower bodies rather than the two legs when it comes to my snake races.

    Originally posted by dave6660
    Vanguard had a few races I liked... the Vulmane (an anthropomorphized wolf) were my favorite.  The Raki (fox people) were also pretty cool.

    Interesting, they look a little more Husky-like than wolf, but quite lovely.

    Originally posted by maplestone

    Whenever something feels like it would be fun but is hard to justify because of the time/effort required, make a game of it :)

    Agreed!

     

    Here's a few sketches I have done that I think would make for some fun races:

    There are (at least) two reasons why more diverse body types such as a serpentine lower body are virtually never playable races in MMORPGs.

    First, having all of your playable races the same shape means that they can all use the same armors.  You can easily accommodate taller and shorter races by simply stretching the textures as needed, and you can do the same for any other dilation.

    But what would pants or boots look like on a naga?  If a dragon has huge wings in its back, do they poke through chest armor, or worse, poke a moving hole in the armor as the wings move?  Having to have a separate set of armors for every race would massively increase the game development cost.  You can get around this by having only one or a few armors available for each race, but players wouldn't like that, either.

    Second, having to animate wildly diverse body types would mean that your standard animation methods simply don't work without major sacrifices.  Most playable races aren't merely bipeds, but also have the two feet near each other when standing still.  This means that even on slopes or uneven ground, you don't have one foot poking that far into the ground or floating that far in the air unless you're at the edge of a cliff.

    But if you're touching the ground in several places that aren't so close to each other, either some feet don't come anywhere near touching the ground, or some poke far into the ground, or both.  If you have a character on a smooth slope, you can tilt the character to compensate for this, and it will look all right, though if you tilt too far it will look like the character should fall over.  But if the ground is jagged or high curvature, this doesn't work.

    For non-playable races, you can get away with this.  Guild Wars 2 has spiders, for example, and their legs are rather spread out.  But you can control where non-playable races go; it's not a coincidence that in GW2, spiders are always in areas that are either completely flat or else a smooth slope, even though the game itself has plenty of places that fit neither of those descriptions.  That doesn't work for playable races, however, as players need to be able to go everywhere.

    Another potential fix is to simply make the entire game world flat or smooth slopes, with no jagged or curved ground areas anywhere in the game.  Alternatively, you can simply accept that your animations will be wildly wrong and look terrible.  But neither of those are satisfactory options.

    You can get around this with procedurally generated animations.  But that immediately means that your artists can't create the animations, as very few artists would have the necessary math background.  The people who do have the background will probably lack the artistic talent needed to make AAA graphics.

    Completely understandable, I'm aware of all that. I believe I posted similar within another thread regarding non-humanoid playable races and why they aren't done.

    With that said, I'd still like to see it done.

    While it would be a hefty endeavor, you'd surely have to go the rout of racial armors to ensure that the types all fit the race without clipping issues. Not saying it wouldn't be a lot of work to add non-humanoid races, I know it would.

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Originally posted by TenebraeAeterna

    That aside, in regards to "god-mode" characters... I've always wondered why MMORPG development teams don't hire exceptionally adept role players to moderate their games and make them into semi-god-mode characters. If you think about it, moderators already have the ability to do as they please within these games and often play alongside other players. I have heard of WoW moderators helping out their friends and...pushing...the limitations they have in regards to their mod powers. I even have a female friend who plays WoW and has every last mount in the game...she hasn't paid for a single one though due to her mod connections.

    Might as well just give these moderators something unique to play around with and actively seek to hire legitimately adept role players to partake in the role of potential antagonistic THINKING characters within the game...or potential periodically random allies that could show up on a whim and help you out in a time of need. ...all while they continue their moderation duties in the background.

    Think of those people who do great at being a Dungeon Master in D&D. Make these people your moderators and give them custom characters with unique abilities to use. They play the part of a mod AND a unique facet to the game server they play on and moderate...providing an element of a thinking game element separate the players.

    Mods use their powers either way, might as well hire exceptionally adept role players to take up these roles and actually make the "abuse of power" interesting by giving them interesting and unique characters to play with (still telling them not to use the ACTUAL mod powers without reason.)

    Think, for example, that WoW world event Demon that came to attack the cities before The Burning Crusade was released. That huge demon that grew more powerful with every player death it caused... Imagine if that was, infact, a moderator controlling the creature instead of an NPC...a thinking element incorporated into the game.

    If I were to make a game, my moderators would have custom characters and I would seek out the best Dungeon Masters I could find and give them an adequate understanding of what I was looking for...

    Basically, moderate the game as a mod would...but use your special character abilities to throw in a little animated flavor into the game and breathe life. Maybe they start a cult, maybe they become a wandering warrior for hire, maybe a legend that people hear about but rarely see...who knows.

    One problem with that is the cost.  Hiring moderators costs money, so you necessarily have massively more players than moderators.  If you spend a large fraction of your operating budget on a human dungeon master mechanic that players only get to experience infrequently, that seems rather inefficient.

    There's also the issue of bias.  Even when we don't like machine AI, it's usually perceived as being "fair".  With humans controlling the AI and making choices, you'll immediately get the strong perception of bias, with moderators playing favorites.  And that's even if the dungeon masters do an excellent job; the occasional example of clear-cut bias will make the perception much, much worse.

    If you believe that the moderators of the games you play now aren't displaying a little bias...well, I have a female friend who has every WoW mount you can get and she hasn't paid for a single one of them. She was just given them by a mod buddy and some of her friends.

    Moderators often play the game that they're moderating, and they often tip the scales if they have friends. I'm not saying that the system would be perfect right out of the box, it would need a lot of work and some very exceptional moderators...but if it was done right, I think it could provide one hell of an interesting element that actually puts a little life into the game beyond simply the player base themselves.

    I've a heart of pure black jade, beating forth the ebon ink of shattered dreams. So spread those thighs my darlings, and let me hear those lustful screams... For twisting coils and silken strands, my venom coursing through your veins. It's my bliss you seek, to ease those troubled pains...

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,792Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by TenebraeAeterna

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    One problem with that is the cost.  Hiring moderators costs money, so you necessarily have massively more players than moderators.  If you spend a large fraction of your operating budget on a human dungeon master mechanic that players only get to experience infrequently, that seems rather inefficient.

    There's also the issue of bias.  Even when we don't like machine AI, it's usually perceived as being "fair".  With humans controlling the AI and making choices, you'll immediately get the strong perception of bias, with moderators playing favorites.  And that's even if the dungeon masters do an excellent job; the occasional example of clear-cut bias will make the perception much, much worse.

    If you believe that the moderators of the games you play now aren't displaying a little bias...well, I have a female friend who has every WoW mount you can get and she hasn't paid for a single one of them. She was just given them by a mod buddy and some of her friends.

    Moderators often play the game that they're moderating, and they often tip the scales if they have friends. I'm not saying that the system would be perfect right out of the box, it would need a lot of work and some very exceptional moderators...but if it was done right, I think it could provide one hell of an interesting element that actually puts a little life into the game beyond simply the player base themselves.

    You're not going to eliminate moderator bias.  But what the moderators are able to do can make the effects of that bias greater or less.  If the worst effect of mod bias is that someone gets some free cosmetic stuff, that's not that big of a deal.  But if you absolutely cannot progress until a mod who hates you decides to let you win, that's completely game-breaking.

  • SpeelySpeely Seattle, WAPosts: 861Member

    Currently woring on a P&P setting that addresses player races procedurally and evolutionarily, and the more I do, the more I realize it would be a cool mmo system as well. It combines racial and skill development into one path. I developed it because I wanted the players to create the tropes rather than be bound by them.

    The character starts as a spirit hovering between the Stream (a kind of river of memories that flows through all worlds) and Mundaea (the physical world, which upon the setting's planet is in a post-apocalypse event era nearly devoid of sentient life.)

    Character creation begins by identifying oneself as Male, Female, Androgyne, or Asexual.

    Then, four Ephemories are chosen. These are 'ephemeral memories' that represent the only remaining facets of identity that the spirit possesses from its last life. 

    One Origin Ephemory - Mammalian, Reptilian, Avian, Plantlike, Aquatic, Amphibious, Insectoid, Crystalline,  or Amorphous.

    One Physical Ephemory - Strong, Fast, Resilient, Adaptable, Small, Large, Nimble, Visceral, or Ephemeral.

    One Mental Ephemory - Knowledgeable, Intuitive, Wise, Perceptive, Cunning, Willful, Creative, Practical, or Mysterious.

    One Emotional Ephemory - Positive (happy, optimistic), Negative (sad, pessimistic), Loving, Hateful, Lusty (ambitious, greedy, hedonistic) Stoic (disciplinoed, honorable, meditaive), Sensual (materialist, artistic, curious), Envious, or Dreamrapt.

     

    After this stage, the spirit enters the world as a non-corporeal being and can only interact with the thoughts of certain creatures and other beings who exist in or can enter the 'Between' (boundary between the Stream and Mundaea) such as ghosts and some Fey beings. The spirit learns from the animals, ghosts, and Fey general information about the Powers, rulers of the regions and domains that cover the world. There are greater spirits, and they are the ones opening up Mundaea to spirits as a kind of recruitment tool. Apparently there is a war a-brewin.

    Navigating hostile ghosts and wicked Fey attacks (which cause psychic wounds that open up "Flaw" options for later evolutionary stages) and communicating with friendly versions (which open up some "Perks" for later as well) the character eventually finds a domain and a Power that he/she/it wants to choose based upon both their domain of influence and their spiritual and moral outlook. Some are wicked and some are wise. Some are proud and some are subtle.

    This creator power breathes life into the spirit, and the form it takes is dependent on three factors: 

    1: The Power's Domain (regional type like Mountain, Desert, Volcanic, Tundra, etc) and 'alignment."

    2: The character's four Ephemories chosen during spirit genesis. Different combinations would work in different ways with the themes provided by the Power.

    3: Player's selection. As certain Ephemories are shifted around in order of "prominence", different types of forms are offered. Once one is settled upon, the player makes adjustments ala conventional character customization.

    Perks and Flaws are chosen from those provided by the ghosts and Fey met during the wandering spirit phase as well.

    This provides a character with a physical form and their first Talent, (called the Birthright) which will become their primary, defining ability. Contact with additional Powers around the world will add further evolutionary racial stages and Talents (up to 4) whether through alliance/neutral mutual benefit or through seizing them through use of force or subterfuge. At every stage, the player further evolves the character's skills and racial characteristics. Subsequent talents are added in a Secondary and Tertiary manner, with each tier being less advanced than the Birthright, respectively.

    Once the fifth stage of evolution is complete, the final form of the race is realized. Interbreeding would be possible only with those races that were under a certain number of evolutionary steps away from your own result. Further advancement would be done through Talents/Skills from that point on.

    Of course, in a P&P game, I only have to design a decently-sized cadre of general races and then adjust according to my players on the fly a bit. In a MMO it would be (ostensibly) a coding nightmare.

     

  • gigatgigat Minneapolis, MNPosts: 604Member Uncommon

    Here's a few I would like to see.

     

    Skaven from Warhammer (humanoid rats):

    Skaven

     

    Draconians from Dragonlance (humanoid dragons):

    Draconions

     

    Quadav from FFXI (humanoid turtles, yes it has a shell on its back!):

    Quadav

     

    Bugbears (I think these are a twist on hobgoblins or goblins):

     

     

     

    "Lose the helmet sis, we can't prove that you're retarded." - Dennis Reynolds

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,792Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by PerfArt

    Currently woring on a P&P setting that addresses player races procedurally and evolutionarily, and the more I do, the more I realize it would be a cool mmo system as well. It combines racial and skill development into one path. I developed it because I wanted the players to create the tropes rather than be bound by them.

    The character starts as a spirit hovering between the Stream (a kind of river of memories that flows through all worlds) and Mundaea (the physical world, which upon the setting's planet is in a post-apocalypse event era nearly devoid of sentient life.)

    Character creation begins by identifying oneself as Male, Female, Androgyne, or Asexual.

    Then, four Ephemories are chosen. These are 'ephemeral memories' that represent the only remaining facets of identity that the spirit possesses from its last life. 

    One Origin Ephemory - Mammalian, Reptilian, Avian, Plantlike, Aquatic, Amphibious, Insectoid, Crystalline,  or Amorphous.

    One Physical Ephemory - Strong, Fast, Resilient, Adaptable, Small, Large, Nimble, Visceral, or Ephemeral.

    One Mental Ephemory - Knowledgeable, Intuitive, Wise, Perceptive, Cunning, Willful, Creative, Practical, or Mysterious.

    One Emotional Ephemory - Positive (happy, optimistic), Negative (sad, pessimistic), Loving, Hateful, Lusty (ambitious, greedy, hedonistic) Stoic (disciplinoed, honorable, meditaive), Sensual (materialist, artistic, curious), Envious, or Dreamrapt.

     

    After this stage, the spirit enters the world as a non-corporeal being and can only interact with the thoughts of certain creatures and other beings who exist in or can enter the 'Between' (boundary between the Stream and Mundaea) such as ghosts and some Fey beings. The spirit learns from the animals, ghosts, and Fey general information about the Powers, rulers of the regions and domains that cover the world. There are greater spirits, and they are the ones opening up Mundaea to spirits as a kind of recruitment tool. Apparently there is a war a-brewin.

    Navigating hostile ghosts and wicked Fey attacks (which cause psychic wounds that open up "Flaw" options for later evolutionary stages) and communicating with friendly versions (which open up some "Perks" for later as well) the character eventually finds a domain and a Power that he/she/it wants to choose based upon both their domain of influence and their spiritual and moral outlook. Some are wicked and some are wise. Some are proud and some are subtle.

    This creator power breathes life into the spirit, and the form it takes is dependent on three factors: 

    1: The Power's Domain (regional type like Mountain, Desert, Volcanic, Tundra, etc) and 'alignment."

    2: The character's four Ephemories chosen during spirit genesis. Different combinations would work in different ways with the themes provided by the Power.

    3: Player's selection. As certain Ephemories are shifted around in order of "prominence", different types of forms are offered. Once one is settled upon, the player makes adjustments ala conventional character customization.

    Perks and Flaws are chosen from those provided by the ghosts and Fey met during the wandering spirit phase as well.

    This provides a character with a physical form and their first Talent, (called the Birthright) which will become their primary, defining ability. Contact with additional Powers around the world will add further evolutionary racial stages and Talents (up to 4) whether through alliance/neutral mutual benefit or through seizing them through use of force or subterfuge. At every stage, the player further evolves the character's skills and racial characteristics. Subsequent talents are added in a Secondary and Tertiary manner, with each tier being less advanced than the Birthright, respectively.

    Once the fifth stage of evolution is complete, the final form of the race is realized. Interbreeding would be possible only with those races that were under a certain number of evolutionary steps away from your own result. Further advancement would be done through Talents/Skills from that point on.

    Of course, in a P&P game, I only have to design a decently-sized cadre of general races and then adjust according to my players on the fly a bit. In a MMO it would be (ostensibly) a coding nightmare.

     

    If you want to make an MMORPG out of that, then how do you propose to draw it?  Do you have a ton of different races that just happen to look identical?  Try to have artists create a separate race for every combination of choices and you'll quickly be forced to strip out nearly all of the choices.

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    I want to get away from the idea that a game has a fixed list of races that you have to choose between.  I want players to be able to create their own race.  How many arms do you want?  How many legs?  Where do you want them to attach to the torso?  Do you want the character to run on both arms and legs, or just the legs?  Or maybe you'd rather skip running and roll around on wheels.  Or slither, as the original poster suggested.  Or flap your wings and fly (though not very high, for reasons of play balance).

    And then, of course, a player should be able to attach a tail, or antennae, or horns, or whatever he wants to the character.  And two heads, or none, or whatever other number he likes.  The game engine should then take the players choices and animate it procedurally.  Feet should step on the ground, rather than poking through it or standing on air, even when the character is on a slope.  Arms should move freely enough that melee attacks will actually aim at the target rather than stabbing a fixed spot in the air.  Tails, hair, and whatever else the player wants should bob somewhat as the player accelerates (whether forward, rotating, or whatever).  Characters should turn their head when they're looking at something, whether a mob or an NPC that you're talking to.

    And then, the textures.  Players should be able to create their own textures to apply to their characters.  Have some premade options where players just have to pick parameters, but also let players create things more versatile.  Let players pick "colors" (which can have some roughness rather than being solid colors), and draw this curve, this thick, from here to there.  Add some text or various geometric designs if you like.

    Oh, and it should all be procedurally generated, so that passing one player's character to another--including vertex data, animation data, and textures--only takes several KB.  That makes it small enough to stream on the fly to everyone else who needs to see the player.  For that matter, it would likely be faster to stream such data to other players and generate the character that way than to load a bunch of textures off of a hard drive, as most games have to do.

    And then once a bunch of players have each created their own race, you have a ton of races built into the game and can use them for mobs that the players fight.  Rather than fighting the same 30 monsters forever, or perhaps higher level or "elite" versions of the monsters that fight exactly the same as the normal ones except that they have more health and do more damage, you could have many thousands of totally different monsters to go fight.  You could find new monsters that you've never seen before and have to learn how they fight all over again, every single day.  Even if you play the game for years.

    Sounds impossible, you say?  I'm working on it.  I'm pretty sure that I can do it.

    My only problem with something like this is that when you give someone too many options they might become disinterested in making any choices. If your going to have lot of options. there should be some structure to the selection.

     

    Say somebody just knows that they want to be a dragon. They can look through some different types of dragons to start with. Despite virtually every culture on earth having dragons. Almost all of them fit (form wise) into a few categories. Wurm, Drake, Wyvern, lung, and amphithere. Some or feathered, some are furred, some have hide, and some scales (many a combination of these). But, as for base form they mostly fit into 5 categories.

     

    Alternatively lets suppose someone knows that they want to be a mythological creature from a certain cultural mythology. They could select something like greek mythos. And be presented with many of the species therein (centaur, minotaur, satyr).

     

    But, choosing a form based on what they are interested in will help make the whole process easier and more intuitive. After which they can start out as a generic of that form if they like and customize it later as they feel their character develops. Or delve deeper into initial customizations. Maybe they want to choose an alignment, or an element to theme there character under in general. Such as a chaotic good Fire Cyclops. Or a Maleficent Frost Wyvern.

     

    The more specific they get with how they want to look to begin with. The more specific where they start out their games become. The more bland they want to make their starting decisions with character design. the more broad there initial zone is. (a lawful, thunder centaur might start on a cloud island of the coast of an Greecian-like coastline, and their job is to usher the audible omens of a guilty man about to be judged). Where as a normal lion may start of in an Asia minor like setting and later have the ability through questing to become what they wish to be (maybe eventually a chimera or gryphon).

     

    But, how ever it is handled. If you end up making it so much about character customization t start with. All you will end up with is game that is thee to show off characters. Without context... without setting and some restriction. And the ability to better a character along the lines they chose to start out with....You get second life. And for that... well there is already second life.

     

     

    image

  • AccountDeleted12341AccountDeleted12341 Houston, TXPosts: 351Member
    Originally posted by Helleri

    My only problem with something like this is that when you give someone too many options they might become disinterested in making any choices. If your going to have lot of options. there should be some structure to the selection.

    I definitely agree with you on this one. I love games with a lot of races. The Everquest series, for example. MUDs with over 40 races, for another. I am a huge fan of these, and detest games which only have 3-4 race choices due to their lack of "color" in theme.

    However, I am afflicted with the disease known as "ALT-iitus". Common symptoms include full character slots, never obtaining level cap, and indecision. When I played Everquest 2, there were so many races it was hard to choose. However, I managed to choose. It was when I was presented with the classes, that none seemed all that appealing. I would sit in front of character creation for nearly an hour, unable to decide. IMO this is the most important decision in a MMORPG, as characters often take endless hours to develop. I do not want to pick a race or class I end up getting bored with, having wasted 8-16 hours of gameplay before realizing it.

    When presented with a RogueLike or MUD that gives me choices of over 40 races and 40 classes? I just about slit my wrists. I felt like alt-f4ing, instead of making a choice. I literally had to just roll a dice, and see what came up. Why even allow me to choose? There are so many possible races, so many types of classes, that even in a game of permadeath... I was petrified with indecision.

    When so many things sound fun, so few are uninteresting,  none are more appealing than the other (Everquest 2 classes), or you have no idea what any of them are like...it is not easy. Even when I would allow my friend or nephew to choose first to make it easier on me, it was nearly impossible in Everquest2 to pick a class despite googling "What class is a good duo for [insert ally's choice]."? And in a game where it doesn't really matter what class you pick? Oh god, is it that much worse. In Everquest2, people said that pretty much ANYTHING works well with anything else. Then they added mercenaries...oh god!

     

    I am creating a game with 64 factions, but from experience I will have a system that helps assist players in choosing. There will be "Help me choose- Quiz", "Give me a Random Choice." which the player clicks over and over like rerolling dice, "Help me choose- Process of Elimination", or "I feel like melting my brain. Let me decide EVERYTHING!" Probably even a system which helps players decide, based on what they have enjoyed before, or how well they rate the fun they had with their former characters. I plan to keep track of player metrics in a very detailed manner, so I can use it to help the players.

    Also, players will have very few unlocked in the beginning. It is only through playing the game or purchasing expansions (I haven't decided yet) that players will have more than a handful of choices. So as the player gets more experienced, they will have more options, with a smart suggestion system to help them with their next choice.

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