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[Column] General: Developing a Fantasy MMO

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,596MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Creating an MMO like the one found in Genese Davis's "The Holder's Dominion" is something that a lot of people would like to do but aren't always sure how to begin. In her latest column, Genese discusses the ins and outs of the MMO creative process. Check it out and then head to the comments to tell us about your worlds!

So why invent a fantasy MMO to base The Holder's Dominion around rather than, say, write a straight fantasy novel set in Edannair? Although writing a fantasy novel set in Edannair is a really cool idea, what inspired me to create this MMO goes back to the goals for this story—connecting people together. Even if a reader has never touched an MMO, he or she can read The Holder’s Dominion and experience a glimpse of what an MMO offers, what it’s like to collaborate with others on such a world-wide scale, and ultimately see a new perspective to why gamers game. A speculative thriller like Holder’s is an approachable form of entertainment for communities unfamiliar with fantasy novels, and fantasy worlds in video games.

Read more of Genese Davis's Developing a Fantasy MMO.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    After this interesting and fun read, I noticed the picture at the end.  Was like..woah,  SHE wrote this? For a moment, hearts flashed before my eyes and I wished girls I date had such imagination.

     

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to write this great article.

     

    Regarding your question, I spent a few days designing a game which I would love to make; and for much of it I drew upon maps and antagonists from my teenage D&D days.   Can't imagine designing a game without this pool of experience.

     

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • RockyRocketsRockyRockets SittardPosts: 70Member
    I bet this game will work only because a photo of some chick is up there it probably isnt even her idea its just a marketing idea made by an old perv
  • bliss14bliss14 eleva, WIPosts: 565Member
    Originally posted by RockyRockets
    I bet this game will work only because a photo of some chick is up there it probably isnt even her idea its just a marketing idea made by an old perv

    You are all that is good in this world!

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member

    The idea of a concept pyriamid with a central idea that leads to opposites in contention which further split into wider strands of themes underneath.

    Eg Game of Thrones is "Last of the Targaryen's flickering, dying spark... while the fall-out from the Iron Throne plays out over years."

     

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,772Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by RockyRockets
    I bet this game will work only because a photo of some chick is up there it probably isnt even her idea its just a marketing idea made by an old perv

    if she had the imagination to write a good book, she has more than imagination to write this article and a story behind a game. DOnt like it? nothing wrong with that, just messure your comments..... kids these days really need some spanking to behave properly.

    Why cant opinions just be normal and not retarded?
     
     

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  • DignaDigna City, CTPosts: 2,014Member Uncommon

    Appearance doesn't equate to capability or lack of the same.

    Intelligence, creativity, skill, etc do.

    That said, 'pretty' people tend to get more press/advertising because there are more people who go by 'looks' then the rest (especially for a 1st impression).

    Regrettably.

  • SenadinaSenadina San Diego, CAPosts: 896Member Uncommon
    Well since she's an author, I am going to assume that is her book jacket pic. Of course I knew it was going to be commented on nonetheless, because God forbid gamers don't comment on a woman's looks first, and the content of her post second.

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  • RockyRocketsRockyRockets SittardPosts: 70Member
    Ppl who use the word: kids, are usually kids themself.
  • JayarisJayaris InvercargillPosts: 308Member

    Would rather read articles that actually pertain to existing or MMORPG's in development.

    Questionable decision to start lending towards novelists. (Genese' previous article, another before that about intellectual rights contracts (don't remember author)). 

    And though this might be World Building (for an MMO) it's still world building. 

    Are budding MMORPG developers really in need of such help?

    Hi

  • JayarisJayaris InvercargillPosts: 308Member
    Originally posted by RockyRockets
    Ppl who use the word: kids, are usually kids themself.
     

    Coming from the guy that condenses 'people'? People that use the words kid are probably just people that speak English. Since it's a pretty common word.

    Hi

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Senadina
    Well since she's an author, I am going to assume that is her book jacket pic. Of course I knew it was going to be commented on nonetheless, because God forbid gamers don't comment on a woman's looks first, and the content of her post second.

    Yes, being a pretty woman, I imagine, is not all peaches and cream.  Their work may be brilliant, but people tend to be distracted by their looks.   That said, I think I might just buy her book.  it seems different and interesting; and I like the subject matter (MMOs).

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • nate1980nate1980 Evans, GAPosts: 1,829Member
    It sounds like she knows what she's doing. However, I think she probably got her start with games like WoW, if not WoW itself, because she's talking about using features that have been popular since the post-WoW era (ie. story, pve, pvp, raiding....but everything with a twist).
  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nate1980
    It sounds like she knows what she's doing. However, I think she probably got her start with games like WoW, if not WoW itself, because she's talking about using features that have been popular since the post-WoW era (ie. story, pve, pvp, raiding....but everything with a twist).

    Are you serious? All what you mentioned was already introduced back in the 90's with EverQuest and Ultima Online.

    But I guess you were still wearing diapers at that time, so I forgive your ignorance. :-)

  • MuffloMufflo StockholmPosts: 30Member

    Please stop writing this stuff, encouraging everyone to make their own wholehearted and halfhanded mmo. We surely must have too many mmos to play right now? It can be proven on so many levels. I believe many of us notice the itching feeling to quit playing a game just because another one is easier. 

     

    Can we please have a more relaxed market before trying to encourage more devs to build mmos? I wish for more studios to specialize, find their nische more clearly and play it through to the end. I can't have it all of course. 

    The sylvari ordered Rice n chicken in a bar. The waiter asked him: "exploded or intact?" He angrily answered: "Intact of course! Do you take me for a fool?"

    Those were his last words.

  • HokieHokie Vancouver Wa.Posts: 1,063Member Uncommon

    Oddly enough for me creating a world characters and backstory is exceptionally easy.

     

    I was an avid AD&D player from about 10 years old. By the time I was 13-14 years old I became a passable DM. And  by 16 years old I could create not only my own worlds complete with back stories, history, etymology, flaura, fauna, yadda-yadda-yadda, I was creating my own game systems and mechanics.

     

    Whats oh so hard for me is writting. I just cant make it flow. Its there in my head I just cant put it on paper without summarizing or adding garbage as word filler.

    And whats odd, as an AD&D DungeonMaster I can flow when I step into that character even if Im not full on roleplaying. I can tell a damn good story enough that my players loved the snipets of backstory they'd get. And its one reason I was so popular as a DM.

    Yet, I cant translate that to writting.Its frustrating to say the least. So I tend to be very envious of good writters. Its still my favorite medium for story telling.

    I love movies and all the special effects. But give me a well written book, that I enjoy reading, any time of the day.

     

    "I understand that if I hear any more words come pouring out of your **** mouth, Ill have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

  • SaintWalker44SaintWalker44 Odym, CAPosts: 80Member

    Now THIS is how its done....

     

    Good solid article, well spoken.

     

     

    Just blows that 'other' female writer away, the one that disappeared from this site. Better writer, informed, makes reader 'think'.........

     

     

    If we NEED a hottie article writer, then this is it............Stick with her

    All Will Be Well.....

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon

    The article also completely leaves out a ton of complications that show up if you're trying to develop a real game that you want real people to play.  Which makes sense, as you can skip over them if it's just a fictional MMORPG for a novel.

    For example, you can only draw so many things at once without killing your frame rate, so you have to design to make sure that the screen will never get overcrowded.

    You can design a game around the way that you want players to play it, but players will figure out their incentives and ignore the way you wanted them to play it and play some other way instead.  For example, we can get gold three times as fast if we just loop this particular bit of content endlessly and ignore the other 99% of the game.

    Sometimes you have to say, that would be a really cool feature, but I can't code it and make it work right, so I'm not going to implement it.

    It's one thing to decide characters or regions should be where at a high level.  It's quite another to have to decide what every single texture should look like, which textures should be used where, which vertex models should be used where--and how to do all of this while making the game look nice but not overloading the CPU, video card, or hard drive.

    But being able to skip over a bunch of things because you're only writing a novel has its advantages, too.  When people say they have a game idea and what they really have is a storyline idea and no technical skills relevant to actually creating a game, sometimes I think they ought to just write a novel instead.  That lets you do all the lore you want, without the pesky need for programmers and artists and so forth.

  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon
    Well it is good PR for her book.  Near as I can tell this is her first book ever published, so it is hard to make any judgements one way or the other, well other than "she's hot!"...  The premise sounds interesting, but I'll wait to see how it does once the review start rolling out.
  • wowcloneswowclones Los Angeles, CAPosts: 127Member

    "It takes hundreds of hours to develop the tremendous amounts of history and lore for these vast worlds,"

    And it takes thousands of hours to implement the technical part of an mmo. I have worked for mmo game studios. You need a lot of extremely skilled people and that cost a lot of money. Even then you may not be able to create an MMO, look what happened to 38 Studios and Project Copernicus. I admire your passion to make an MMO, but it's not what you think, no amount of research can even began to describe the huge undertaking of creating an mmo. My advice is don't even try it unless you have a lot of money or a super polished prototype to put up for crowd funding. Understand Mark Jacobs and Gariott are industry vets, they can make millions off kickstarter, if your name doesn't carry a big title forget about it. You are only looking at it from the lore point of view, technically it's an expensive beast that require 20 to 300 employees fulltime.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    I've spent more than 20 years puttering away at layer upon layer of backstory for a world for my tabletop games.  Sometimes I think that it is a slow simmer that will eventually gel into something special.  Sometimes I think I'm a delusional madman pacing in circles holding a pile of meaningless scribles and that a skilled writer could almost mechanically produce an outline equal to all my accumulated efforts in a single afternoon of brainstorming.
  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 530Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by wowclones

    "It takes hundreds of hours to develop the tremendous amounts of history and lore for these vast worlds,"

    And it takes thousands of hours to implement the technical part of an mmo. I have worked for mmo game studios. You need a lot of extremely skilled people and that cost a lot of money. Even then you may not be able to create an MMO, look what happened to 38 Studios and Project Copernicus. I admire your passion to make an MMO, but it's not what you think, no amount of research can even began to describe the huge undertaking of creating an mmo. My advice is don't even try it unless you have a lot of money or a super polished prototype to put up for crowd funding. Understand Mark Jacobs and Gariott are industry vets, they can make millions off kickstarter, if your name doesn't carry a big title forget about it. You are only looking at it from the lore point of view, technically it's an expensive beast that require 20 to 300 employees fulltime.

    My understanding(which could be wrong) is that the MMO is fictional.  What she created is the world setting of the MMO used in her book.  The MMO does not actually exist nor is she actually developing it.  While she probably did some research for her book on how one gets created, and she had to map out the fictional MMO's game world, this was all for the book and not for creating an actuall MMO.

  • JayarisJayaris InvercargillPosts: 308Member
    Originally posted by jbombard
    Originally posted by wowclones

    "It takes hundreds of hours to develop the tremendous amounts of history and lore for these vast worlds,"

    And it takes thousands of hours to implement the technical part of an mmo. I have worked for mmo game studios. You need a lot of extremely skilled people and that cost a lot of money. Even then you may not be able to create an MMO, look what happened to 38 Studios and Project Copernicus. I admire your passion to make an MMO, but it's not what you think, no amount of research can even began to describe the huge undertaking of creating an mmo. My advice is don't even try it unless you have a lot of money or a super polished prototype to put up for crowd funding. Understand Mark Jacobs and Gariott are industry vets, they can make millions off kickstarter, if your name doesn't carry a big title forget about it. You are only looking at it from the lore point of view, technically it's an expensive beast that require 20 to 300 employees fulltime.

    My understanding(which could be wrong) is that the MMO is fictional.  What she created is the world setting of the MMO used in her book.  The MMO does not actually exist nor is she actually developing it.  While she probably did some research for her book on how one gets created, and she had to map out the fictional MMO's game world, this was all for the book and not for creating an actuall MMO.

    I think the confusion stems from this not being a literary site for aspiring authors.

    Hi

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,441Member Uncommon

    Yes i am biased but having her head sunk into FFXI is a positive in my books,it is still the ONLY MMORPG that did it slightly different than everyone else and that deserves a ton of props.it is super easy to realize game design from all the otehr games because they are all basically the same,VERY little depth to game play.

    Also the story telling in FFXI was  very creative,again this bodes well to anyone that wants to write the script to a new game becuase it would givde you a lot of good ideas.

    Also FFXI used traditional beleifs, LORE,mythology,it names most if not all of it's bosses after mythological creatures.It relates to the Japanese/Asian beliefs,religeon.

    So many people in this genre have had to learn about the genre from, a WOW perspective and imo it sets a bad image of what mmorpg gaming shoudl be about.Most of these gamers would not be creative,heck from what i rad in the forums there woudl only be two generic game builds and NO story telling.We would have either a pvp free for all or a total RAID fest,super fast leveling to get to end game.

    IMo FFXi is the BASE to start a really good game,of course i am not stupid,the game was not perfect,it could use a ton of tweaks,but for a building block it is the best place to start.

     

     


    Samoan Diamond

  • Geoxer22Geoxer22 Spring, TXPosts: 6Member
    I've had thousands of dreams and thoughts of different types of mmo's i'd like to see and create but my dreams elude me, mabey one day ill finally submit a kickstarter idea and get out of this hole i am in.
  • AnthonyGreyAnthonyGrey Fredericksburg, VAPosts: 5Member

    I would like to commend and thank you for your willingness to share your own strategies and techniques. I will definitely site you when creating my own MMO. The only problem to me is you're mostly describing a creation based on mimicry. We all know the MMO world is littered with games 99% identical to others. Strip away the story, race names, item names, enemy names, ALL gfx, etc until you're down to the very core of a game and more than likely you will have no idea which game it is because it could be so many different ones.

    This is something you skipped over all too quickly. You said you have a twist in your raiding and PvP without specifying which is smart. But you never said the importance of including such unique features in the game. I've thought up 3 MMO concepts I hope to, if nothing else, introduce to the world. Each completely unique from each other and any MMO I've ever known of.

    The first one I thought of was inspired heavily by the Final Fantasy series. Although I've never played any of the MMOs I have been an avid fan of the series for over a decade now. What I did was I started writing out how the game would play from the beginning in an extra spiral notebook from school. I had written around 10 pages front to back filling every line with deep descriptions of how the experience would be when you started the game and I had maybe just vaguely described the first hour of gameplay. unfortunately I lost the notebook but I still have the concept in my head.

    I think an MMO should be designed around the experience that the players will have. Although in designing my next MMO I will be making lists it may also be wise to try and write out the experience in a chronological manner just to really get how it plays.

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