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Should I even make an MMORPG if the graphics are not great?

To catch you up to speed and avoid any flamming I will give you the short story up to this point,

 

Over 5 years ago I wanted to make my own mmorpg... well unlike most others I never gave up, in fact I'm now a programmer!  Even have a few years of college-level courses done and I'm an editor for a popular developer site.

So I've got the programming part up to speed... I even created my own little server (can find more info about this with my latest blog post)

Now I have 6 months of nothing but 24/7 freetime!!  My goal in these 6 months is to get a working beta out for an mmo.  My other goal is to create a PROFITABLE game that will hopefully pay for my college.

Now I'm no artist (im a programmer)  and I can not hire one... so in short the only graphics I can really draw are 2d childish graphics,  as for 3D I can model but I can not texture worth a darn and I've never animated.

What I'm getting at is the simple fact I want to make an mmo and I do want to make money and I CAN produce a basic mmo within 6 months (so please don't flame me about how long an mmorpg takes...)

Now I started creating my own kids chat/virtual world from scratch and got pretty darn far in just one month of development!!  but my heart isn't really with it... I'm losing my drive to make the game... I want to make an mmorpg!

Now after much research over the span of years I'm confident in saying that Realmcrafter is MY best choice for SPEEDY development of a 3d mmorpg (I've had the engine since it first came out).

One of the major 'down falls' to RC is the lack of polish visually, the engine doesnt look the best and duoed with my really bad artist skills it will make for one hellish looking game.

Now below is a video that perfectly shows the level of polish visually I could provide, after seeing that video do you think a game with that level of graphics even has a chance?   The business side of my brain tells me that making the kids mmo would be much more profitable than trying to get judgmental mmorpg players to take my game seriously....  It's obvious that the game will NOT be loaded with a crap load of content or look even remoltey 'next-gen' but it will have a unique essence to it... so what I'm getting at is,  Do you think it's even worth putting my blood sweat and tears into an mmorpg or should I just stick to my safe plan of making a kids chat/virtual world?  Remember that money IS important here, so I will need a user base of over 250 paying players... which I think might be really hard to get but I want your opinions!

HERE IS A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE VISUAL LEVEL OF QUAILTY I COULD PROVIDE!

 

Obviously any inde mmorpg wont appeal to the masses but I want to make sure that I have a fighting chance at atleast getting people to give the game a chance and not discard it too soon...   I know that most people over the age of 18 might not care too much about the visuals but I fear the younger people might not even care to give it a chance simply due to visuals...  any/all feedback is welcomed, also another thing would be the fact the game will not have a boat load of content but it will have a lot of things 'to do' and will progress slowly with level caps (level cap at say 10 then add end-game content for level 10 and polish everything up then open the cap up again)...

I just fear that the expected level of basic entry into a commercial mmorpg might be too high for little ole me and a non-visually pleasing mmorpg with little BUT polished/unique content.

My 'edge' might also be the fact that the players WILL have a great amount of say as to what happens in the game... and I will be open to playing/talking with them... but that in itself might not even be enough.

So is there any RP in mmorpg anymore...

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Comments

  • AganazerAganazer Member Posts: 1,319

    I've designed and written a few games. If you don't have an artist and aren't going to be a good 3DS Max modeler either, then don't make a 3D game. It will take 10 times the effort for 1/10th the results. If you go 3D you'll end up putting in so much extra effort that it will be a crap game with crap graphics and no redeeming quality other than that you made it. Make it 2D and focus more on the gameplay, mechanics, and interaction.



    Something along these lines:

    This game is Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup which could be a great resource for good game design. Its single player, but has great RPG mechanics and is an extremely deep game. You might even be able to contact the developer and get permission to use the tiles.

     

  • Kungaloosh1Kungaloosh1 Member Posts: 260

    A truly fun game will be enjoyable regardless of the graphic quality. A truly beautiful game with horrible gameplay will become a coaster in quick fashion.

     

  • pencilrickpencilrick Member Posts: 1,550

    There used to be a time when dev's said, "Content is King".  But now, I think "Polish is King".  This does not necessarily equate to most pixels or high intensity graphics, but whatever you create, it had better play as "smooth as glass" or I predict it will take a hit in subs.

    Look at successful games and they are generally quite polished and run very smoothly, with effective or graceful animations.  Look at the failing MMO's and you may notice those have clunky animations and unfinished graphics.

  • ShijeerShijeer Member Posts: 131

     There is a very important distinction when it comes to graphics, there's simple, minimalistic and there's just plain bad. Unfortunately that video there is just bad. I cant imagine you offering an amazing depth and complexity too when you have so much to worry about the visual/animation side of things only to be inevitably put down based on looks alone, especially by the younger demographic. You will have trouble getting people to play it period, let alone pay for it. Its really sad too, how much time and dedication it takes to even get to that stage, but honestly its not the way forward mate. 



    Especially when working alone -and- having little art/animation background and/or ability, touching a 3D client is a bad idea. The graphics dont need to be complex nor next-gen, what they do however need to be is clean and crisp. I would suggest looking into MUDs, but I sense that's not what you have in mind.



    You should really take a good look at the possibilities of the Flash platform, yes thats right - for an MMO. This way you can get somewhere, although I admire your dedication, what you have currently just wont fly. As cruel as that may have sounded. Ive seen indie MMO's with better graphics, more devs and years of preperation fail to have -any- playerbase at all, you cant succeed unless you reevaluate both your strategy and the development platform.

     

    Also, are you aware that with most of these "make-your-own-game-engines", the fine print says that everything you make, thats right, belongs to them.



    - Shijeer

    image

  • kakarotragekakarotrage Member Posts: 280

    a game doesn't need to have good graphics but things need to be nice on the eye on some level and that's based on the fact that your mmo will offer fun and unique features that the mmorpg community wants. (e.g a game that looks like "crap" that has only quests like "go kill a bunny" will never succeed)

    World of Warcraft is a proof that MMORPG quality should affect schedule/budget and not the other way around.

  • thinktank001thinktank001 Member UncommonPosts: 2,144

    I would suggest making something similar to a side scroller ( MapleStory ).   I don't think attempting a 3d version without planning to put some serious time into art assets is a good idea.

  • Jimmy562Jimmy562 Member UncommonPosts: 1,158
    Originally posted by Kungaloosh1


    A truly fun game will be enjoyable regardless of the graphic quality. A truly beautiful game with horrible gameplay will become a coaster in quick fashion.
     

    But a truly good game would have a mixture of both.

  • MardyMardy Member Posts: 2,213

    Your video reminds me of AC1 somewhat, with a tad better graphics.  If the game itself is polished and have plenty of fun content to do, I'll play it.  If you even remotely bring back some of the old school gameplay and the meaning of RPG into MMORPG, it could potentially take off as that upgraded AC1/EQ1 that people have been asking for.

     

    Also when designing your game, figure out what niche playerbase you want to develop the game for.  Trying to cater to everybody is a good way to end up like WAR, a game that tries to please everybody but end up being mediocre, which simply ended up not being good enough for anybody.

    EQ1-AC1-DAOC-FFXI-L2-EQ2-WoW-DDO-GW-LoTR-VG-WAR-GW2-ESO

  • uquipuuquipu Member Posts: 1,516

     Lag kills a game for me, not graphics

    I also like a responsive game.  If I press a button to make something instantaneously happen, it had better happen instantly.

     

    Well shave my back and call me an elf! -- Oghren

  • herculeshercules Member UncommonPosts: 4,923

    its always good to hear about indie mmorpg projects.There used to be a forum few years back on this website(might still be here too lazy to check) which potential mmorpg devs can hook up and share ideas/skills .Not sure any mmorpg ever got born from that forum but i hear a few got close.

    its worth looking for people who share your dream and are artists/coders and working with them.they will do it for free as long as they get credit for it.

  • AriocArioc Member Posts: 299

    Here's my 2 cents from an environment artist who works on MMO's. (so it's prolly worth 1 cent :D)

    In general people have varrying views on whats good art, I for one dislike fallen earth's art but other people say it's amazing. The best way to avoid that is to not try and render realism. When you try and do realism with realistic textures people have a real world to compair it to and so you will get the most criticism.

    Go for stylized (read: not world of warcraft, just pick something sylized). Perhaps no texture maps, just colors and ambient occlusion maps to give everything a world of plastic look. Maybe go for a comic book or anime shaded look. The thing is, the more you try and make stuff look real by purchasing stock textures or stock models the more muddled the art style is and less real it becomes. I think your player model looks good, but I don't know if you modeled and animated him. Perhaps you made the castle and the wall textures. Did you paint the terrain map textures?  Sky box?

    Sylized art is less suceptable to compairison and more open to interpretation (see: LOVE). It will allow you to get more art into the game to fill your world up rather then spending days painting textures to look real or buying stock items off 3d web sites to fill up the world with.

    Hope that helps!

    Arioc Murkwood
    Environment Artist
    Sad but true.

  • colutrcolutr Member Posts: 333

    You talking about graphics or artstyle? You don't need to make a game that is graphically intensive, but you need to have an artstyle much better than what we saw in that video. Even 2d art in a fun game > 3d graphics in a boring game.

  • exestenz69exestenz69 Member Posts: 121

    I would say go for it. Myself and another are starting up our own MMO project with the RC program.  We both are starting basically from scratch. Myself doing 3d modeling / textures , he is doing the majority of the coding. We both plan to work on the game world zones. When i say from scratch i mean NOTHING i have absolutely no experience with models or textures and he has no experience with coding or anything of that sort. Will our game every see the light of day you bet. Will it be popular and make a ton of money most definitely not.

    For 1 it wont be what most of the new crowd is looking for in an MMO as we are both "old timers" that loved the game play of games like EQ , DAoC, AC  classics. The second is the graphics. I have no claim that the models will turn out great or even half ass pretty but they will be the best i can make them.  We will both probably end up putting more cash into the project than we make off it , but we have hopes that when we do release (within about 2 years) that people will play our game for the game play, and the want of the old community ways of gaming. Where groups are encouraged and soloing is HARD but doable. Quests that are more than go kill X thing X times and come back.

    Bottom line do what you like if you work 15 hours a day at something you love and want to do its not really work is it? Not everyone thinks graphics are the have all end all of games anyway. I mean people still play 2d games. I still load up daggerfall now and again because it was a true "Hardcore" RPG. People still play games for the reason i prefer Morrowind to Oblivion.  So pick a design plan it out well, and out of the millions of MMOers to the genre these days I'm sure a few will play it. Will it be enough to pay your way through school ? i don't know and honestly no 1 can tell you what will happen, but if you don't take the risk now and again you will never know.

    image

  • inBOILinBOIL Member Posts: 669

    mind = best graphics engine ever,feed it

     

    Generation P

  • DwarikDwarik Member UncommonPosts: 12

     if you want an mmo that pays for your college forget about it. something like that would require fulltime work/updates/etc to keep running, and for most people college and a fulltime job is a bit overkill (at least if you want to do well and arn't a genius that could have gotten scollarships to pay for your college). also if you are producing a 3d game you expect people to pay for just compare it to a browser mmo like runescape and ask yourself why is your game more fun so it would be worth some money.

    not trying to talk you out of making a mmo though, by all means go for it. just don't expect it to be a cash cow on your first try

    maybe look for a up and coming 3d artist who wants to showcase some of his abilities and offer to split the profit if you want better 3d graphics.

  • NinjaNerfNinjaNerf Member Posts: 163

    Go for it if you have the UNIQUE ideas on CONTENT and MARKETING.

    A couple of months ago Yahoo! reported an American college freshman made his first million in a year from a completely f2p MUD he made.

    You don't need a lot of people to really play your game. Advertisement, affliate programs, donations etc can all add up to millions if you do it right.

  • rozenblade1rozenblade1 Member CommonPosts: 501

    Okay, so here is what I think...

    I say go for the kids Chat/Virtual World first...If you believe that can be somewhat successful, that is...

    Make a name for yourself, put yourself out there, get yourself noticed...

    If people like your work, you may find more jobs, then you can make some money...but always doing what work you can on your MMO, such as programming systems and what not...

    So, you would then have not only a chunk of money (possibly even a constant and steady income), but also a reputation and a foot in the door...

    From there you could establish a dev team, and persue your MMO full time...

    This is just my opinion, I'm surely no professional or anything...

    PLAYING: NOTHING!!!
    PLAYED:FFXI, LotRO, AoC, WAR, DDO, Megaten, Wurm, Rohan, Mabinogi, RoM

    WAITING FOR: Dust 514

  • puddinloverpuddinlover Member Posts: 30

    Thanks a lot for all the replies guys (read them all)!



    Simply due to the fact I know I wont be able to produce even semi-commercial quality models/animations for a 3D mmorpg I decided to just keep on trucking with my kids mmo *Virtual Chat World*, though my kids mmo is kind of the opposite of what I want (it will have no combat/violence) I do believe that it will be the “only” option for my art style (see my blog post for a screenshot of my kids game).



    I actually wouldn’t mind making a kids mmorpg with that kind of art style but I feel that marketing a kids game with violence will be harder than marketing a kids game with no violence. Plus making a kids chat is much easier than creating my own mmorpg… which means I will have more time to market my chat/polish it.



    If it wasn’t for all the pre-existing kids mmorpgs I would think about making one but just with free realms and wizards 101 and even Runescape I feel that I will be better off fighting with Club penguin and other avatar chats for kids.



    I actually first started making a maple-story like mmorpg (platform/side scrolled) in flash but once again due to my very childish looking graphics I figured it would turn almost any adult mmorpg player away =P



    I’m still open to any feedback (especially dealing with any kid related mmo advice), once again thank you and I will be checking this thread often!

     

  • AxehiltAxehilt Member RarePosts: 10,504

    "I've designed and written a few games. If you don't have an artist and aren't going to be a good 3DS Max modeler either, then don't make a 3D game."

    I strongly agree.

    Only make a 3D game if you have the art team for it, or if you have an idea for a solid minimalistic art aesthetic (example: Darwinia. Extremely simple models/textures paired with a solid art aesthetic.)

    Trying to do a realistic fantasy MMORPG with art similar to the earlier video (Ithis Online) is shooting yourself in the leg.  You're competing for the money of consumers who have hundreds of other fantasy MMORPGs to choose from.  (It's acceptable to respond to this with "I'm a total badass at marketing my game and am willing to put for the hype effort to make it work." If that's the case, your chances are much higher.)

    "What is truly revealing is his implication that believing something to be true is the same as it being true. [continue]" -John Oliver

  • puddinloverpuddinlover Member Posts: 30
    Originally posted by Axehilt


    "I've designed and written a few games. If you don't have an artist and aren't going to be a good 3DS Max modeler either, then don't make a 3D game."
    I strongly agree.
    Only make a 3D game if you have the art team for it, or if you have an idea for a solid minimalistic art aesthetic (example: Darwinia. Extremely simple models/textures paired with a solid art aesthetic.)
    Trying to do a realistic fantasy MMORPG with art similar to the earlier video (Ithis Online) is shooting yourself in the leg.  You're competing for the money of consumers who have hundreds of other fantasy MMORPGs to choose from.  (It's acceptable to respond to this with "I'm a total badass at marketing my game and am willing to put for the hype effort to make it work." If that's the case, your chances are much higher.)

     

    Ya I'm not the best at marketing nor do I even have a marketing budget =[

    Kind of why I'm also leaning at the kids virtual world/chat because I will be able to do some solid grass roots marketing and even target parents.

  • SinviperSinviper Member Posts: 169

    I'm sorry if this doesn't fit in anywhere, I'd just like to offer myself as an artist for any MMORPG projects that may be already up and running or just starting. If your interested you can PM me and see some of my work.

     

    Thanks, Ryan.

    Originally posted by --Name edited out--


    EX-PRO PLAYER IN WOW HERE.THIS GAME IS GOOD! TRUST ME IM USED TO BE THE BEST IN WOW BUT JUST A N00B IN AION. ITS CHALLENGEING , TRY IT!


    [Sigh, watch out guys, this dude's pro.]

  • tro44_1tro44_1 Member Posts: 1,819
    Originally posted by Kungaloosh1


    A truly fun game will be enjoyable regardless of the graphic quality. A truly beautiful game with horrible gameplay will become a coaster in quick fashion.
     



     

    LOL Yeah right!

    As much Trash talking I read on this forum about WoW's graphics, I dont believe that

  • arctarusarctarus Member UncommonPosts: 2,581
    Originally posted by puddinlover


    I actually first started making a maple-story like mmorpg (platform/side scrolled) in flash but once again due to my very childish looking graphics I figured it would turn almost any adult mmorpg player away =P


    I’m still open to any feedback (especially dealing with any kid related mmo advice), once again thank you and I will be checking this thread often!
     

     

    Dude, your main aim now is money, forget about the adults now, do you know how many players maplestory have?

    Do it in 2D mate but just make it less grindy...

     

     

    RIP Orc Choppa

  • drbaltazardrbaltazar Member UncommonPosts: 7,856
    Originally posted by puddinlover


    To catch you up to speed and avoid any flamming I will give you the short story up to this point,
     
    Over 5 years ago I wanted to make my own mmorpg... well unlike most others I never gave up, in fact I'm now a programmer!  Even have a few years of college-level courses done and I'm an editor for a popular developer site.
    So I've got the programming part up to speed... I even created my own little server (can find more info about this with my latest blog post)
    Now I have 6 months of nothing but 24/7 freetime!!  My goal in these 6 months is to get a working beta out for an mmo.  My other goal is to create a PROFITABLE game that will hopefully pay for my college.
    Now I'm no artist (im a programmer)  and I can not hire one... so in short the only graphics I can really draw are 2d childish graphics,  as for 3D I can model but I can not texture worth a darn and I've never animated.
    What I'm getting at is the simple fact I want to make an mmo and I do want to make money and I CAN produce a basic mmo within 6 months (so please don't flame me about how long an mmorpg takes...)
    Now I started creating my own kids chat/virtual world from scratch and got pretty darn far in just one month of development!!  but my heart isn't really with it... I'm losing my drive to make the game... I want to make an mmorpg!
    Now after much research over the span of years I'm confident in saying that Realmcrafter is MY best choice for SPEEDY development of a 3d mmorpg (I've had the engine since it first came out).
    One of the major 'down falls' to RC is the lack of polish visually, the engine doesnt look the best and duoed with my really bad artist skills it will make for one hellish looking game.
    Now below is a video that perfectly shows the level of polish visually I could provide, after seeing that video do you think a game with that level of graphics even has a chance?   The business side of my brain tells me that making the kids mmo would be much more profitable than trying to get judgmental mmorpg players to take my game seriously....  It's obvious that the game will NOT be loaded with a crap load of content or look even remoltey 'next-gen' but it will have a unique essence to it... so what I'm getting at is,  Do you think it's even worth putting my blood sweat and tears into an mmorpg or should I just stick to my safe plan of making a kids chat/virtual world?  Remember that money IS important here, so I will need a user base of over 250 paying players... which I think might be really hard to get but I want your opinions!
    HERE IS A REALLY GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE VISUAL LEVEL OF QUAILTY I COULD PROVIDE!
     
    Obviously any inde mmorpg wont appeal to the masses but I want to make sure that I have a fighting chance at atleast getting people to give the game a chance and not discard it too soon...   I know that most people over the age of 18 might not care too much about the visuals but I fear the younger people might not even care to give it a chance simply due to visuals...  any/all feedback is welcomed, also another thing would be the fact the game will not have a boat load of content but it will have a lot of things 'to do' and will progress slowly with level caps (level cap at say 10 then add end-game content for level 10 and polish everything up then open the cap up again)...
    I just fear that the expected level of basic entry into a commercial mmorpg might be too high for little ole me and a non-visually pleasing mmorpg with little BUT polished/unique content.
    My 'edge' might also be the fact that the players WILL have a great amount of say as to what happens in the game... and I will be open to playing/talking with them... but that in itself might not even be enough.
    So is there any RP in mmorpg anymore...

     

    IF YOU use dx11 you will be surprised to see lot of stuff is optimised by the graphic card itself it cut a lot of dev since if the item is design with tessallation it will improve it self with tessalation.check it out on you tube

  • JsorenJsoren Member Posts: 2

    There are a lot of new start up MMO's out there every year, it's nice to see someone out there who knows their limits and actually has the determination to succeed. I know you are still early in the development process, however if you need music or even sound effects for your project, please check out www.savstudio.com/music/. We specialize in composing music and sound effects for just such projects.

    The best of luck.

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