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 The MMO Forge

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Number of posts : 4
Age : 38
Location : JÄRPÅS Sweden / Wisconsin USA
Registration date : 2009-02-06

PostSubject: The MMO Forge   Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:40 am

Soo, this may be a bit of shameless self-promotion but....

A few of you frequenting the RIFT forums may have caught a glimpse of this post by Demethir:

Quote :
It has always boggled me how quickly people take concepts and polarize them, dividing complex issues into philosophically opposing camps. Arguments like "PvP versus PvE", "Instanced versus Open World", "Theme park versus Sandbox", and "Casual versus Hardcore" force people onto one side or another. Those who can't or won't take the time to see the shades of gray end up passionately defending their adopted position, often at the personal expense of others' opinions. While this behavior certainly goes well with a bag of hot buttered popcorn, the resulting conversations are about as productive as two humping mules.

One of the more polarizing discussions to crop up recently is the difference between DEEP and SHALLOW game design, including which is more "fun", and why. First of all, "fun" is entirely subjective and what one persons enjoys has nothing to do with what other people consider fun. Secondly, these concepts are multifaceted. DEEP does not necessarily mean "difficult" or "time consuming", although some developers certainly use these tactics to create the illusion of depth.

So let's begin with the concept of "FUN". Fun can come from a lot of places, including discovery, excitement, challenge, achievement, socialization, and so on. The only real measure that matters is when something stops being fun and starts being tedious (and it's important to realize that line is different for everyone). It can be both exciting and fun to pick up a sword and decapitate a goblin, but at some point after the 100th, 1000th, or 10000th goblin, the excitement fades. Especially if the game mechanics encourage or reward further goblin slaying, that "fun" experience becomes a TIME CONSUMING task, often described as a "grind". GRIND is typically not fun.

Often times, people suggest that a game with more depth will result in more fun, but what does that mean? A DEEP game, by definition, simply has enough different, "fun" things to do that players don't feel limited in their choices after a time. A DEEP game has enough places to explore, systems to optimize, challenges to over come, discoveries to be made, things to build, and people to talk to that most people won't get bored. A deep game does not have to be DIFFICULT or TIME CONSUMING to achieve these things (although a game with depth will most likely keep people entertained for quite some time). The distinction here is whether the game's mechanics result in "grinds" or not. I can spend years in a DEEP game and never experience a grind, and I can spend days in a SHALLOW game and grind the whole time. It all depends on how the game is designed. Again, this depends partially on personal preference, and partially on how many different ways the game provides a person to expand and grow.

DIFFICULT is probably the easiest concept to understand. Difficulty is a measure of how "hard" something is to do, how tight the constraints are. DIFFICULT is fun to a point because once overcome, it provides a sense of achievement, but it can also be frustrating and TIME CONSUMING in a very "grindy" sense when the bar is set too high. Wiping to one mob 1000 times is just as bad as killing the same mob 1000 times over. I get sick of the mob's face either way. DIFFICULTY also provides the illusion of depth because it extends the longevity of content, but this is a gross misconception. Just because it takes me a month to kill my first level 1 goblin does not mean a game has depth. (Conversely, if I can fell every beast I come across with one blow, the "fun" factor will feel like a grind much sooner) Finding the appropriate level of difficulty for a given set of players is ultimately separate from depth, in this respect.

The last concept is the easiest for people to get hung up on because "time spent" is often inappropriately equated to "grind". I can spend a ton of time in a game because there are lots of things to do (DEEP), because the game is hard (DIFFICULT), or because the developers have included "grindy" requirements to make their content last longer (TIME CONSUMING). A player might stay longer in a game for any of these reasons, but they are apt to have different degrees of fun with each activity depending on their own preferences and moods. (Yes, even a "grind" can be fun sometimes, if a player is in the mood for it!) The main point is in the VALUE of the time spent - whether it was enjoyable or not.

In general, there were a group of us with varied backgrounds, looking for a game that wasn't catering to the "instant gratification" crowd.

If you liked the old EQ1 (sans graphics and archaic mechanics), Vanguard (pre-dumbing down), or the Ideal which RIFT was supposed to deliver yet did not. Stop on over and check us out. Even if you were not a proponent of those games, but have an idea that you feel the main stream companies constantly overlook, this may be a place you would like.

One warning, for those interested in submitting ideas, is that the legal protection and NDA are not active as of yet. As I try to intercept people when they join, feel free to read and post opinions, but refrain from posting anything which you may feel is your own intellectual property until the official announcement about protected rights.

Also bare in mind that there are many people and they may have similar if not almost identical ideas to your own. Wink

The overall goal is to consolidate this information into one place, create the framework for an MMO, and if all goes well, even see life breathed into it. Smile
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Number of posts : 1334
Age : 52
Location : Northumberland UK
Registration date : 2008-07-08

PostSubject: Re: The MMO Forge   Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:02 am

Hi Mate!

Hope you're keeping well. Funnily enough I just joined Dem's site last week. Very Happy Even got nostalgic and posted a few memories of UO in a sanbox discussion thread.

The Runners are still going pretty well, although we are a bit split with a few in DDO, three in Rift and a couple in either AOC or Aion. Most keep in touch still here though from time to time.

Thanks for the heads up though, I'm sure quite a few will be interested.

"If that doesnt work, try comfort eating or rocking in the corner clutching a teddy bear."

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