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MMORPG Design



Hello everyone,

I have a few questions regarding MMORPG creation. I've searched some other websites and found some very useful information, and I quickly came to realize the difficulty in creating and launching a successful mmorpg. I'm not one who is easily deterred. If there is a FAQ somewhere that answers these questions, I apologize for missing it; I searched for several keywords and was unable to find comprehensive answers, here or on the web.

My first question, are all members of a start-up MMORPG design team typically programmers, artists, musicians, web developers, etc? Is there ever anyone that is allowed to tag along who simply has ideas? I also have a BBA in Finance from the University of North Texas, which I've always assumed would be helpful for any business venture. I'm sure MMO's on the scale of WoW have employees from all kinds of different fields, just wondering if there would be a place for me on a small start-up.

Second, how do I protect my ideas? If I start a team or join a new one; what keeps them from running away with the ideas? Are we able to copyright something as abstract as an MMORPG concept? Is there a contractual agreement that needs to be signed?

Third, are there any small MMORPG design teams that anyone knows of who would be looking for a new project, that could use some fresh ideas and somebody who is willing to pour every ounce of effort to make it work? I am sure I'm not the first one that thinks he/she has some great idea, so it's likely difficult to differentiate myself from them. However, I can assure you this: the general foundations and concepts of my ideas would charter completely new territory. I'm not even sure if it can be done with current technology limits... whether it be hardware or bandwidth - and maybe that's why I haven't seen it. It's still worth trying.


Thanks for your time.

**edit** I just found the dev's corner, and I believe http://www.sloperama.com/advice/idea.htm will have most of my answers. Sorry to bother, and apologize for not locating that first. **edit**


maculo

Comments

  • AnagethAnageth Member Posts: 2,217



    Originally posted by maculo
    Hello everyone,

    I have a few questions regarding MMORPG creation. I've searched some other websites and found some very useful information, and I quickly came to realize the difficulty in creating and launching a successful mmorpg. I'm not one who is easily deterred. If there is a FAQ somewhere that answers these questions, I apologize for missing it; I searched for several keywords and was unable to find comprehensive answers, here or on the web.

    My first question, are all members of a start-up MMORPG design team typically programmers, artists, musicians, web developers, etc? Is there ever anyone that is allowed to tag along who simply has ideas? I also have a BBA in Finance from the University of North Texas, which I've always assumed would be helpful for any business venture. I'm sure MMO's on the scale of WoW have employees from all kinds of different fields, just wondering if there would be a place for me on a small start-up.

    Your looking at it from the wrong point of view. Why would someone who is technically oriented, such as a programmer, be in a design team? Only people such as concept artists, interface artists, 3D modellers or game designers would fit into the "design team". There would then be a different team for the client/server/AI/gameplay programmers and other techies, such as server administrators.

    Seeing as how you have a degree in Finance, I don't see how you would put your ideas forth unless you joined a team as a designer, and not the company accountant.

    Second, how do I protect my ideas? If I start a team or join a new one; what keeps them from running away with the ideas? Are we able to copyright something as abstract as an MMORPG concept? Is there a contractual agreement that needs to be signed?

    People tend to think of copyright as something incredibly hard to do, and frankly it isn't. The easiest way of copyrighting somthing is to write your ideas (notice I said write, not type) on a piece of paper and mail it to yourself. In this way the post office would stamp it with the date, and then you can leave it in your drawer. As long as you never open it, the information on it is essentially copyrighted. If someone were to have similar ideas, you could take that letter to court, open it and prove you had your ideas before the other person.

    If not, just write up an NDA and send it to your team. If they share the ideas, sue them.

    Third, are there any small MMORPG design teams that anyone knows of who would be looking for a new project, that could use some fresh ideas and somebody who is willing to pour every ounce of effort to make it work?

    Visit GameDev.net as they have a great "Help Wanted" forum. The recruitment in the Dev Corner on MMORPG.com is a joke.


    Thanks for your time.

    **edit** I just found the dev's corner, and I believe http://www.sloperama.com/advice/idea.htm will have most of my answers. Sorry to bother, and apologize for not locating that first. **edit**




    No longer visiting MMORPG.com.

  • XenduliXenduli Member Posts: 654

    My advice, take it for what it's worth is, yes making a mmorpg isn't easy you would need a minimum team of 20; network engineers, quest writers, concept artists, 3D modellers, programmers, publicists, all important admin, testers, accounts dept (that's you!), sound fx guru, musician, someone who deals with distributing, expect to double your team if you plan to publish yourself, manual writers, editors, oh and a network infrastructure (reasonably sized one ~250,000 players probably about $5 million). You've got skills in finance, when you are building a team you play to each others strengths. No-one just 'tags along', my advice set up your own insurance company you'll make more money and it will be less stressful!

    No annoying animated GIF here!

  • FlatfingersFlatfingers Member Posts: 114

    Anageth, I'm with you on most of your responses, but there's one place where I'd disagree:



    Originally posted by Anageth


    Why would someone who is technically oriented, such as a programmer, be in a design team? Only people such as concept artists, interface artists, 3D modellers or game designers would fit into the "design team".



    The design of a high-end game is often constrained by the limits of hardware or software. In fact, if you're shooting for a AAA title, you even need to think about what the limits of hardware/software are likely to be several years down the road, since that's when your product will ship.

    Accordingly, a smart project manager will include all the technical leads in (at least) the initial design meetings. That helps to insure that the game hits the high end of the capability spectrum without crossing the line to promising capabilities that can't be delivered.

    So in addition to the creative director and lead designer (and probably some of the key world/system designers), initial design meetings for a big game would probably also include the lead server and client programmers, the lead database programmer, and the local hardware guru. For a smaller game, some of those hats might be worn by the same person... but they're all roles that have something useful to contribute to a game's design planning.

    Riding herd on all these people means that project managers earn their money.

    --Flatfingers

  • maculomaculo Member Posts: 2
    Thanks Anageth. I am beginning to understand the difficulties involved. I'll just play it in my head until I can play it on my computer. ;)

    maculo

  • ErmacErmac Member Posts: 103

    Well for your first question which is really the only one I feel I could answer very correctly I would not call them a "tag along" I would call them a designer which are of course important.  I would think you need someone with lots of gaming experience.

  • tetsultetsul Member Posts: 1,020
    If I might make a suggestion, instead of worrying about how your knowledge would fit into a MMORPG crew go with a single player niche game and use your knowledge to your advantage. How to make it interesting is up to you, I know squat about a Finance degree. There are all sorts of small developed games that do just that. Life and Death (an OLLLLLDDDD surgery game) was made by a doctor. Anyone remember Capitalism? Bleh, the way I played it I best become a communist.
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