RE: The games are all crap; let's make a decent one.

From: White, Ryan (
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 12:49:48 MDT

From: mjg223 []
Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 9:47 AM

That sounds like a great idea - I'd love to see what you have in mind.
Perhaps the first thing to do is get setup at sourceforge: That'll give
you a place to start posting some ideas, and set up a couple of discussion
lists to get some brainstorming going. If you're doing something exciting,
I'd be interested in getting involved.

I've been interested, on and off, in some sort of distributed mud-like
system. I'd like, for instance, to be able to walk through a door and
seamlessly be talking to another server. Or manipulate objects whose
behavior is being computed on another machine somewhere else. You'd figure
out some system where by objects (a stove, a book, etc.) declare the ways
in which they can be manipulated (open, close, read, etc.), along with
verb mappings, then anyone can drop new objects in, run it's innards
anywhere, and let people play with it. Some sort of Corba'ish/RMI deal.


Ryan v24.2:

The 'server user exchange' is currently being done. Origin's virtual world
is actually a composite of several servers, each one running a defined
virtual space. They set this up with load balancing in mind - in Ultima
Online, there are areas in which more users are active at any given time -
such as urban areas in the game. After post-beta test analysis, i imagine
they divided their world up such that a given server, say, one that includes
a user-frequented virtual city, covers less space than another server
running the wilderness outside the city walls. With this idea in mind, they
connect many servers (connected in-game at 'server lines'- points at which a
crossing player's and associated objects' states are copied into memory and
then transferred to the server running the adjacent virtual landscape. The
character jumps to another server seamlessly - players generally don't
notice this in the game (it doesnt freeze and load the new server geography,
anyway). I tooled around with this and actually charted some server lines -
i was able to make the distinction because in some parts of the 'world' i
could 'move faster' (less player load on the server i was crossing into)
than others. I imagine if the hardware rescources were sufficient, this
could (and should) be incorporated into the game to avoid the speed

To prevent hackers from creating their own virtual super-weapons or making
super-characters (which really unbalances the game and makes it unfun for
most players), EVERYTHING - characters, objects, etc. actually exists on
Origin's servers. What you buy when you purchase the game is an account,
the interface with Origin's servers, and all the graphics. The states of
all of the objects associated with your account are maintained by them.

I agree that players should have the ability to design new graphics and
objects, or even new places - but for this to occur in an environment such
as the one above, one would need a dedicated user design system, built on a
foundation of the publication of in-game object properties and a strong set
of rules, whereby players could submit their inventions for review by a
'game upgrade team'. If an object is accepted, it must be uploaded into all
of the servers (so player X with object Y doesn't mysteriously lose object Y
when he crosses into another server) and would probably be uploaded to
players' machines in the form of auto-patches on connection with the game
servers, as part of an 'update schedule'.

All of this assumes that you want the 'original game world' to be uniform
for your global user base. No doubt if the game is open source, the players
are going to create their own little virtual worlds. I really like this idea
too, but if this is where you (now were getting to 'we', because this is
what Wil and I have been talking about:) want to take it, what you'd really
want to be designing is not necessarily a game, but a object-oriented game
design program and the engines to run it. Like an 'Adventure Construction
Set' (first implemented by Electronic Arts back in my Commodore 64 days -
loved that game.)

Ryan v24.2


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