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Ultima Online Devs Building Player-Run MMORPG

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.

Role Playing (Games) 75

An anonymous reader writes: "A group of former developers for Ultima Online has created a game company called Citadel Studios, and they're working on a new MMORPG called Shards Online. '[CEO Derek] Brinkmann described the game as a player-run MMO, which means at the highest level they can run their own servers and change the settings of that world, altering how long nighttime lasts or how quickly players can gain skills. On the next level down, server administrators can take the form of god characters, who can spawn monsters in the world, create items and launch live events. And in the level below that, players can modify the gameplay code. ... The game is set in a multiverse, where players can travel through different worlds. While all the worlds are unified by the same rule-set, Cotten told Polygon that they are each themed differently, and these themes will offer players a different experience. There's a world inspired by high fantasy. There's a world that is coming out of a steampunk industrial revolution. There's a world that consists of a coliseum in which players can fight each other in player-versus-player battles.'"

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a good idea? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614005)

Doesn't sound very good idea... I wouldn't play such an mmo. It sounds like a chaos for gameplay to me....

Running your own servers and switching between them.... Means there will be few good ones where people will gather in masses an the others will be deserted.

Re: a good idea? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614023)

And the abandoned ones become the new generation of creepy pasta and rumors. Think the old Worlds chat server that is still running. Or hidden forbidden holy ground if you want an anime reference.

Re:a good idea? (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#46614261)

I wouldn't play such an mmo. It sounds like a chaos for gameplay to me....

Sort of like the different forks of NetHack? ;-)

Re:a good idea? (2)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about 9 months ago | (#46614933)

Kinda sounds like one *I* would play in....

Re:a good idea? (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 9 months ago | (#46618945)

Sounds to me like they were getting high one day, thinking they need to get back into the MMO forefront after a decade and a half, and someone had just experienced "Nomic" for the first time ever.

well that was new... (4, Insightful)

tero (39203) | about 9 months ago | (#46614035)

*cough*MUD*cough*

Re:well that was new... (1)

M3.14 (1616191) | about 9 months ago | (#46614189)

That was my exact first thought! How was is that the player generated content was not "exploited" in MUD era? Or wat it because players/wizards taking care of their assigned content were very quick on fixing potential exploitable things?

Re:well that was new... (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | about 9 months ago | (#46615075)

Not so easy, no.

I remember a LPMud server I played on where players undertook quests to get a certain number of Quest Points and those who got high enough were allowed to get access to the LPMud code. New coders would create areas and/or quests for higher ranking coders to vet and if good would include these areas/quests for regular players to play.

LPMud code is basically object-oriented C code and was usually simple enough for a higher level coder to visually scan for problems/exploits.The better and more respected you were with the admins the more access you had to the code to do more than just quests. New character classes with unique abilities like the old Necromancer class on 3K (http://www.3k.org/about3k.php and still around!) that allowed you to pre-script in directions for a kind of 'super speed' become possible..Get high enough and you could get access for the basic server code itself.

Re:well that was new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46652601)

Ancient Anguish did this. I helped develop there back in the day. It was a lot of fun before internal politics did what internal politics tends to do and made it un-fun enough to make me walk away.

This might bring back the joy of tinkering in those sorts of environments.

~ Hatamoto (QC, Canticle, SK, general curmudgeon)

Re:well that was new... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 months ago | (#46614211)

I though all MMORG were just graphical shells to a MUD?

Re:well that was new... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 9 months ago | (#46616779)

I guess to an extent. But I seem to recall the folks on the MUD I was on (Overdrive) were a bit more mature than the typical MMORPG player today.

Re:well that was new... (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 9 months ago | (#46617637)

I wouldn't describe them like that, but the concept is the same.

I fondly remeber playing SMAUG based muds, and had a blast, as MUDs are far more interactable, and far more flexible and versitile with game play. Even though big MMOs like WoW, have far better content(as far as gameplay is concerned), the type of interactions are far more limited. I think the problem is that level design devs.

Again with SMAUG, the sys admins took the role of immortals and gods, and the administrating of the game became part of the game. I like the concept actually.

Re:well that was new... (1)

wwphx (225607) | about 9 months ago | (#46630885)

... I think the problem is th[e] level design devs. ...

Agreed. I've been playing and running RPGs since white box/three book D&D, Traveller and Top Secret in the late '70s and designing card games for over a decade, and played computer games since it was possible. I've always felt that the thing that was really missing from online MMOs was the touch of a good face-to-face game master. I remember one of the D&D RPGs where you controlled a party of 4-6 characters and thought 'THIS is a game that's designed pretty well.' I've gotten some hints of that in Vanguard and Elder Scrolls Online, but that feeling in WoW is happening less and less. You're so heavily railroaded in WoW and there's really nothing you can do about it. Sure, you might be able to kill mobs of critters until you hit level cap, but it'd be pretty boring.

Re:well that was new... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 9 months ago | (#46614277)

UO very much resembled a MUD. It was also a pretty awesome game until EA took it over and turned it into a WOW-style gear grind and started screwing with the skill balance. It was really the last MMO I've run across where player-crafted gear was the best gear in the game. Even in Eve Online, the best modules drop from rare spawns in low-security space, and although players can now research Tech 2 blueprints, the cartels that control the never-ending ones that were given out in the first couple years of the game have such a price advantage that crafting isn't all that satisfying in the game. At least not to me.

I used to make pretty decent coin in UO selling scrolls, spellbooks and location runes. That and making portals for people. The introduction of the later crap -- PvE-only areas, item insurance that would allow you to bind your best items to you and gear that would affect your stats, all made the game significantly less fun. Not to mention the constant tinkering that was required to try to keep the game balanced in the face of all these changes, so that all the players wouldn't quit in droves. Which they pretty much did anyway.

Re:well that was new... (5, Insightful)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#46614387)

The introduction of the later crap -- PvE-only areas,

Actually, a lot of people *like* to enjoy the universe of their choosing without some douche who's spent half a lifetime grinding up to maximum constantly coming around and squashing players they're not involved with just to screw with them. Halo isn't for everyone. I prefer the games where you can flip PvP on and off.

Re:well that was new... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614765)

indeed, and even aside from the griefers, some people just don't want to PVP. It's not why they play games, it's not what they want, they don't even think of competition with other players at all.

Re:well that was new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46615049)

In general a PvP-switch defeats the idea of the "sandbox", where PvP should be part of the possibilities.

It's fine if it is done on new servers and allows players to chose to play according to the new rules, plus oneway character transfers if possible, but what Origin did with Trammel was shoving it down the throats of everyone, leaving only one open PvP Server, Siege Perilous. Economically they made the right choice, because the player numbers were rising significantly after these changes but the destroyed some of the games uniqueness that way permanently.

Re:well that was new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46615247)

The high end equipment in UO just wasn't all that expensive or hard to get in the beginning so death wasn't such a big deal. It was much more bothersome in games like EQ.

Re:well that was new... (1)

blackicye (760472) | about 9 months ago | (#46618605)

Actually, a lot of people *like* to enjoy the universe of their choosing without some douche who's spent half a lifetime grinding up to maximum constantly coming around and squashing players they're not involved with just to screw with them. Halo isn't for everyone. I prefer the games where you can flip PvP on and off.

This was one of the things that was interesting about the PvP in Ultima online (and many MUDs) as well, full corpse looting was enabled.

It was pretty hilarious because all the good items were hoarded in players houses (which were prone to break-ins from either exploits or owners getting killed with their keys on them,) and most of the players went about their exploring wearing disposable junk.

Re:well that was new... (1)

Fr33z0r (621949) | about 9 months ago | (#46620225)

Even an on/off switch for PvP would have been better than what they did. What they did was create a second copy of the map, they left the original unchanged and made the second strictly PvM.

The result was that rather than toggling PvP off and going about their business, when people wanted to go out and do stuff without the risk of getting jumped, they just hopped over to the PvM world to do it.

So instead of having one interesting, bustling world where everybody played alongside each other in a manner they chose. We ended up with a dull, sterile PvM world, and an interesting but empty PvP world.

Re:well that was new... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46615445)

Even in Eve Online, the best modules drop from rare spawns in low-security space, and although players can now research Tech 2 blueprints, the cartels that control the never-ending ones that were given out in the first couple years of the game have such a price advantage that crafting isn't all that satisfying in the game.

And the obvious rebuttal is that these modules are only the "best", if you don't mind losing them over and over. Aside from awesome, status signalling killmails (notices that detail what an enemy loses when you blow them up), player-made is superior because it doesn't bankrupt you when your internet spaceship goes boom.

Second, Tech 2 "original" blueprints (which have two advantages - considerably more efficient use of materials for the single item that they make and they aren't capped as to the amount of the thing which can be produced) are basically collectors' items with some decent economic benefits. They're priced well over their manufacturing value.

Having played Eve Online as an industrialist and actually run the numbers on production with these things, I don't consider them at all that significant. It's more flash than substance.

Re:well that was new... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#46617169)

UO very much resembled a MUD. It was also a pretty awesome game until EA took it over and turned it into a WOW-style gear grind and started screwing with the skill balance.

EA never 'took over' UO - it owned UO from day one. By the time EA disbanded Origin, the PvE-only areas had already been in existence for four years, and the gear-centric grindfest disaster that was AoS had been out for two years. Not to mention 'tinkering with skill balance' had been ongoing from day one. Etc... etc...

Re:well that was new... (1)

realilskater (76030) | about 9 months ago | (#46615797)

That was my first thought as well. I loved playing and being a wiz on MUDs back in the day. Sounds like a good idea.

Re:well that was new... (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 9 months ago | (#46619611)

Tron, is that you...?

Re:well that was new... (1)

Ranbot (2648297) | about 9 months ago | (#46621337)

And just like MUDs this sort of game is only going to appeal to a very niche market of RPG nerds. Maybe that's all they need to keep this game afloat, but I doubt it. Today's MMORPGs require huge amounts of upfront development work ($$$) and when it hits the market there's a lot of competition. Good luck...they'll need it.

Daydream (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 9 months ago | (#46614051)

I remember day-dreaming about an MMO like this ages ago when they were just coming into the mainstream. I was thinking one based on Feist's "Hall of Worlds [wikia.com] " concept. Each player would start on a pre-fabbed world, and after levelling a bit, make their way into the Hall, where they could connect to player-generated worlds which served as dungeons against which to test their skill. After progressing sufficiently, they could gain control of their own world, and create another dungeon to add to the Hall of Worlds.

Still think it'd be a good game; I'd like to play it.

Oh, look, another MMO... (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 9 months ago | (#46614061)

I'm glad the UO folks are getting another shot at this. You might even call it a second life.

Re:Oh, look, another MMO... (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 9 months ago | (#46614627)

Reminded me of Second Life too (game aspects of), where you had many people clueless what to do without specific direction, a lack of cohesion of design, and some outright bad decision making that impacted others.

Already possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614067)

There are alreay a couple of Ultima Online server projects (pol, uox etc.), and a number of privately run shards (uuh, Pergon? and so on)

Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46614069)

And allow me to dust off my crystal ball to predict how this is going to run.

- People will flock to the "shards" where they gather xp the fastest, then complain about the lack of content.
- Balance will be completely off whack because you go to shard A, get weapon A1, go to shard B and get armor B1 because the monster that carries said armor is very susceptible to A1 (which does not matter since nothing like it exists in world B), then go to shard C where every monster gives tons and tons of xp and loot but is really hard to kill... unless you have weapon A1 which deals a damage these mobs don't have any resistance to (because it uses a different ruleset) and wear armor B1 that makes you invulnerable against mobs on shard C (because they use a different formula to calculate armor which makes the armor rate on B1 insanely huge against shard C while it would be quite normal for shard B).
- Interesting, well designed worlds filled with lots and lots of detail that will be deserted because the builder also took balance seriously, while the shards with no meaningful texturing where you mow down mobs by the dozen for free loot will be overrun, in turn giving wizzes the message that players don't give a shit about eye candy and just want free stuff, culminating eventually in the black room with rows and rows of defenseless drones dropping the Ultrasuperspecialawesome Sword of Pwnage with a dropchance of 99.9999% (with an error margin of 0.0001 due to a spawning error caused by the amount of mobs dying at the same time).
- Dozens and dozens of "twisty passages, all looking alike" because for some odd reason wizzes love to create mazes about as much as players loathe running through them.

Oh yeah, I'm so looking forward to that again!

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#46614181)

Clearly you never played UO. UO, being the first "real" mmo had fixed all of those problems from the start, by having no XP and items that decayed rather quickly. Basically your character had a capped number of skill points and you could lock skills at their current level or turn them up or down. So once you hit the cap, if you wanted to change how you played by, for example, going from Sword fighting to magic... you would set your swords to down, and your magic to up, and then use magic a lot until your magic capped out. This system had it's problems, but none of them were like what you describe above.

The primary problem with this system was that it was skill based, and I mean the skill of the PLAYER. Which a lot of people didn't like because... they weren't very good at it. Move over to an mmo like EQ and WOW and if you've been playing for 2 years, and some noob comes on, it doesn't matter how good they are. You put the time in, you're level 60, you're going to be that much more powerful than them. In UO, if you were good at that sort of thing, you could be just as twinked out as any other player in the game in a matter of weeks or even days. And even if you weren't you could still manage to kill them in PVP if you knew what you were doing.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 9 months ago | (#46614641)

> UO, being the first "real" mmo
I loved UO as much as any Ultima fan but you need to check your revisionist history ...

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

> Basically your character had a capped number of skill points
Yeah, "Club 700" was cute in the 2000's -- MMORPG have since moved on, for better or worse.

> This system had it's problems
Calling the grind by any other name is still the grind. (And yes I knew you could GM almost any skill in a few hours with the 8x8 method.)

--
Only Cowards Censor

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614703)

The UO system can have the problems described above. You remember getting silver weapons before fighting undead?
UO is often seen as the holy grail of MMOs, other people pray to Dark Age of Camelot instead... Now, UO was a very innovative game for the CRPG genre, but created new problems. It basically invented the 'Grind'.

Minmaxing, grind your stats and skills until you hit the desired values. Doing this involved power gaming, exploiting, macroing and so on, just because you needed those skills maxed out, otherwise you Energy Bolts would end up as farts. How did you train your Magic Resistance? Did your ghost stand in a fire field? Perhaps not, but those of a lot of other players did, because it was an important Skill. And yes, Magery was pretty much mandatory for fighting players, unless you liked being the victim. Not until far later, when the game was past its prime, they introduced abilities that allowed non Magery players to compete with those.

The problem was that the learning by doing system of UO didn't only contain horizontal progression but also a lot of vertical progression. Eliminate the latter and solve it only by equipment, which is able to be looted upon death, then we have a system that is actually somewhat skill based.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46615349)

Now, UO was a very innovative game for the CRPG genre, but created new problems. It basically invented the 'Grind'.

Grind was around well before UO. Rogue [wikipedia.org] did it in 1980. And grind long predates computer games since it's a common component of many loyalty marketing programs offered by private commerce. From the Wikipedia webpage on loyalty marketing [wikipedia.org] :

Trading stamps

The first trading stamps were introduced in 1891, the Blue Stamp Trading System, where stamps affixed to booklets could be redeemed for store products. The Sperry and Hutchinson Company, started in 1896 in Jackson, Michigan, was the first third-party provider of trading stamps for various companies, including dry goods dealers, gas stations and later supermarkets. S&H Green Stamps, as the company was commonly called, opened its first redemption center in 1897. Customers could take their filled booklets of "green stamps" and redeem them for household products, kitchen items, and personal items. When the G.I.s returned from World War II the trading stamps business took off when numerous third-party companies created their own trading stamp programs to offer to supermarkets and other retailers.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46615909)

Very true, repetitive tasks with little progress were already there.
My bad for not saying that it invented the Grind for MMOs. The thing is, excessive grind without a fun gameplay, is annoying after a while and especially once your character is "finished", but you still need to do it to get your virtual resources and stuff.

Although I'm not sure if this influenced Everquest in any way, since most of the games that followed, including World of Warcraft, are basically Everquestlikes.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#46617603)

How did Rogue have grind? You lost everything when you died. I never did beat that damned game, and I've spent more hours in Rogue or it's variants than any other game in history. lol. But that wasn't grind... it was suspense and mystery to me.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46617713)

How did Rogue have grind?

[...]

and I've spent more hours in Rogue or it's variants than any other game in history

A lot of hours you say? Grind is not a well-defined term. But for me, I usually consider grind in a computer game to be a repetitive activity that you have to do at a computer just to play the game. For Rogue, that activity is clearing out a level. For a lot of modern MMO games, grind is clobbering mobs, harvesting resources, making things, and running quests - in the corresponding semantics of the game.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

Fr33z0r (621949) | about 9 months ago | (#46620531)

I agree, I used a stealth/mage/fighter/healer combo for any duels that happened to crop up pre-trammel (my house was in a hotspot of PvP activity and my guild had a way of making enemies) I didn't come anywhere near grandmastering a single skill on him, but that class was built for murder and served me very well against hardened PvPers over the years.

Skill locking didn't enter into things for a few years though, in the good old days you could spend forever GMing your main skills, then walk past somebody playing a harp and passively gain musicianship, losing hours upon hours of progress in a second.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

psnyder (1326089) | about 9 months ago | (#46614193)

you go to shard A, get weapon A1, go to shard B and get armor B1 because the monster that carries said armor is very susceptible to A1 [...] , then go to shard C where every monster [...] is really hard to kill... unless you have weapon A1 which deals a damage these mobs don't have any resistance to [...]

Megaman?

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (0)

Rich0 (548339) | about 9 months ago | (#46616093)

Interesting - sounds about like the impact of free trade in the real world. You min-max each step of a supply chain in the country whose laws are most allowing of polluting/exploitation/etc of that process, and sell the product wherever you can get top dollar for it.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46616595)

Maybe with the main difference that not only I can op-out of the game whenever I wish so (and hence the game crumbles if it succumbs to this min-max strategy and enough people loathe that), and that the original idea behind the game was that it should be fun to partake in it, rather than just trying to get as much xp/loot/blingbling as possible... though it's hard to tell with contemporary MMOs, I have to admit that.

Re:Ohhh... they just invented MultiMUD (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 9 months ago | (#46620783)

I doubt they are doing this, but I had thought up an interesting solution to this a while back.
XP can be treated as a universal currency. All servers are assigned XP points based upon the users % spent on their server. So you have a central authentication system that knows user Z spend 40% of his time this month on server X and 60% of his time on server Y this month. Server X in total is slightly less popular and given its 1000 users and their time spent gets allotted say 4000XP, and Server Y with its more 1200 users who spend more time on it gets allotted say 8000XP.
Those servers can have their own internal economy and XP distribution systems, but when you leave the server the server has to decide how much XP to give to this leaving user. It can give it 0, but nobody will use this server, it can give that one user all 8000XP of its monthly allotment but then would piss off the rest of the userbase :) . Upon entering other servers that new server can have a conversion factor in the universal XP that user came in with to their local XP. Now I guess the real issue would be how to stop cheating servers that suck away a users entire XP and never give any back. I guess a universal rule that new servers can't take away XP, and trusted servers can't take away more than 10% of a users XP. Maybe special authentication system for when I user wants to voluntarily give away more than a certain amount to the server they are entering into. Shrugs, something should be workable.

we are all thinking it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614113)

Please don't let brazilians anywhere near it!

(i'm brazilian)

Re: we are all thinking it (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 9 months ago | (#46614139)

Would the lack of pubic hair be a problem?

Re:we are all thinking it (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 9 months ago | (#46614747)

gibe moni plos

ogres in a box, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614157)

neverwinter learned the hard way... player generated content *will be exploited* for all its worth, and then some...

to take that to the next level and allow anyone to set an entire mmo's universe rules? loot tables? xp tables? difficulty settings? loot itself?

it's fucked already, and the game isn't even close to being released yet. nice idea, but this is the internets, where everything that can be hacked, cracked, or exploited, WILL BE.

Re:ogres in a box, anyone? (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 9 months ago | (#46614215)

It's not a problem if each server is just it's own persistent world ... let characters from the official servers import into persistent worlds, but not export.

Re:ogres in a box, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614411)

It's not a problem if each server is just it's own persistent world ... let characters from the official servers import into persistent worlds, but not export.

This is how it was on most nwn servers. Only characters from that server could be played. Exported yes, but imported anywhere else - no.

This is lacking the M in MMO.

BTDT (1)

Mycroft-X (11435) | about 9 months ago | (#46614175)

So, it's like DikuMUD with graphics. I for one, welcome these ideas from 25 years ago! Combine that with Ultima VII-grade graphics and you have a winner in my book!

So, DayZ? (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 9 months ago | (#46614185)

This looks like DayZ, but with magic. Where as DayZ seems to have a love-it-or-hate-it vibe, this just looks lame.

Re:So, DayZ? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 9 months ago | (#46614309)

Or maybe Rust but with magic. What Rust seems to have is a bunch-of-new-players without pants running around bashing each others' skulls in with rocks kind of vibe. Now that I think about it, the new players on UO used to be similarly feral.

Not altruism (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about 9 months ago | (#46614195)

This won't result in primarily altruistic and cooperative gameplay experiences but rather a tasteless mish-mash of anarchy.

Never going to happen ... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 9 months ago | (#46614207)

Game code will be properly abstracted from engine code and it will be open source? Sure ....

Unless they give true full source code access the best players will be able to do is turn some near irrelevant dials and connect some blocks together to form a "new" quest, just like all these other MMOs which promise players will be able to develop content.

Re:Never going to happen ... (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | about 9 months ago | (#46615181)

Depends on how flexible the world-controlling engine code is in relation to the content of the actual game world. I once imagined something like this and as long as enough work is placed on the fundamental mechanics of inter-server operation then I can see it as doable.

Basically they need to have a set of rules with enough variables that can allow for the individual server environment to change sufficiently enough to make the different worlds interesting while still retaining a 'core' code that can handle the transition well for networking to different servers. Like say the effect a wizard using a wand to casting a 'Flamethrower' spell also being able to work with a steampunk 'flamethrower' or a sci-fi flamethrower. For world/quest building it would be great if they had simple rules/tools with the possibility of becoming something enormously complex like a game of Go.

World building tools that allowed player add-ons while preserving connectivity could create an enormous amount of player game support like the way Crafthub does with Minecraft for example. It would take a lot of planning to avoid the 'need this add-on, and this add-on, and this add-on' to play though. A game engine that allowed add-ons to modify the environment while not breaking compatibility between versions would be very nice but would require some very heavy thought to create..

I actually downloaded Unity last night to try playing around with something like that before I saw this article and said 'huh. Great minds.'

Re:Never going to happen ... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 9 months ago | (#46615395)

I was downloading mods on the fly in Unreal a long long time ago, needing add-ons is not a problem (other than security wise, need to use something like NCl or I guess Asm.js ... shudder). Properly abstracting the game code and running it all in script is not a problem either (again, Unreal).

It's just that modern developers seem utterly incapable of proper abstraction and lack the mindset to open source any part of their work ... I seriously doubt anyone working on Shards is any different. They'll give people some castrated tools and that's it.

mo3 do3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46614237)

NOTWITHSTANDING, into a sling 0nless 5upplies to private posts. Due to the

In case you missed it... (3, Interesting)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 9 months ago | (#46614273)

This has been going on for years already. RunUO [runuo.com] .

Re:In case you missed it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46617113)

RunUO is just an Ultima Online emulator, like dozens before, it's completely different from what these guys are proposing.

Btw: POL is better.

Re:In case you missed it... (1)

Kethinov (636034) | about 9 months ago | (#46617289)

This has been going on for years already. RunUO.

And yet utterly devoid of entertainment value.

There's an extremely high barrier to entry for new players. Which client do you install? Which of the 3 or 4 third party assist tools do you need? Where do you download all that?

Even once you get the game client up and running, you end up with choice paralysis trying to find out what server to play.

Picking a server involves shitloads of googling and visiting each of their random websites while they explain mostly in game jargon terms which settings they have, or what "era" of the game they adhere to, without really explaining what that means.

And then there's the PVP, which is a joke on every server I've ever played. No diversity. No balance. One or two templates is all anyone ever plays.

And don't forget the ganks, because PVP is dominated solely by large, organized guilds everywhere. Want to duel? Good luck. Some servers have dueling systems, but they're ghost towns.

The most popular servers all seem to have declining player populations, which isn't surprising. Any community this hostile to newcomers deserves to wither.

So yeah, I welcome the UO devs one-upping existing player run UO shards with something new. Someone needs to do it right.

Re:In case you missed it... (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 9 months ago | (#46622427)

Well, what do you expect from a platform that is 15 years old, and poorly maintained at best? I mean, Origin tried to go to a 3D client and then, in the middle of developing it they decided, "this is a waste of time, we're abandoning it." WHAT? I mean it wasn't perfect, but it had potential, so they basically threw years of client development out the window.

And that was by no means meant to target Ultima Online solely, it was more to point out emulation of servers. They have this stuff for other popular MMO's too (like World of Warcraft for example.)

Other than that, you just ranted about what's been wrong with Ultima Online for the past 10 years. It's not an exclusive condition to emulated shards. All that junk is true of official servers too. What was your point there?

Also I think the original topic was about not only playing on these worlds, but building them as well. There's a HUGE entertainment value on the server side of emulation, building a server that YOU think is how it should be, promoting it, attracting players, etcetc. Some people like that! That's entertainment!

Re:In case you missed it... (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 9 months ago | (#46622465)

Oh, one other thing. A high barrier to entry isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Lower the bar too much and you get things like... AOL and Facebook.

Pass.

Of course the subtext is.. (0)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 9 months ago | (#46614903)

You're in your mom's basement in your mid 30s and you're not getting any.

Shard is for you!

I had an idea similar once (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 9 months ago | (#46614905)

My idea was:

Have a MMORPG that players can host on their own server.

Everyone can host their own server.

There's no rules against hacking cuz you can't stop it anyway

Have a main server which allows people to buy virtual goods.

Allow players to make their own meshes they can sell on the main server's virtual good server, and get a cut.

Re:I had an idea similar once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46618141)

There may not ne much of the first 'M' with less than a gang of servers for the shard....

Amazing slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46615081)

The very definition of vaporware. No anything. Not even screenshots. So how much does it cost to be featured? I also have my own slashvertisements to do: program in http://nimrod-lang.org, the programming language of Kings who infuriate Gods!

Matches User Behaviour (1)

ndrw (205863) | about 9 months ago | (#46615103)

I think this idea really matches what I see in a lot of young gamers now. If you've spent any time on Minecraft lately, you'll find a tremendous diversity of play styles and server types. Having a professionally produced, nicely scaling MMORPG that the players can bring their creativity to, could provide a nice market for them.

MO / PW (1)

Cammi (1956130) | about 9 months ago | (#46615291)

AKA Mirage Online / Player Worlds? Yeah .... thought so.

More money then brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46615581)

Thats sounds like plan for disaster. Is there someone out there with too much money? Ill promise, i can send millions and give you nothing in return back..

Let players loose on server and you are guarantied that sooner or later balance gets kicked out of the window and super weapons emerge... These focus crippled kids of these days just have no patience for challenging gameplay...

Too many to count... (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#46615831)

A group of former developers for Ultima Online has created a game company

Um... so what? UO has been around so long now there's a veritable legion of "former UO developers" out there running around. A quick check of the bios on the company website doesn't raise much confidence that the claim of being a "former UO developer" is worth much - they mostly only worked there for a short time and on one single expansion well into the "let's keep ol' bessie runnin' one more season" phase of UO's life.

Being "involved with UO" may have been a phrase to invoke magic with back in the late 90's/early 00's... But now that it's a pale shadow of it's heyday, it's just pathetic.

Re:Too many to count... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46626959)

That's not even taking into account Shroud of the Avatar, on which the REAL Ultima developers, including Richard fucking Garriot, are working.

reminds me a bit of Piers Anthony's Kilobyte (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 9 months ago | (#46617399)

Can't wait for the Rift for this!

Oh, wait, FB bought it.

Umm.. Shroud of the Avatar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46617753)

I thought the guy who brought us UO, Lord British (Richard Garriott) is launching Shroud of the Avatar, isn't this just an EA sub running interference? The overview sounds more like a Secondlife spin-off than Ultima.

New game, old issues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46618115)

Neverwinter Nights had only player run servers 10+years ago and the same issues still stand. (no cross-world was organized)

problem 1
Depends what/how the 'world' specific assets exist - 2D vs 3D, many commonly shared assets. streaming or static, disk save caches vs memory only... If you have to wait for the assets to be loaded on very different switching worlds it puts a damper of switching.

problem2
Another is character persistance being poisoned by griefer tards creating deathworlds which can strip a character of their permanent possessions or even attributes (another is a monty-hall worls that ruins any character advancement scheme) . You know there would be players to do that.

Solution is to have an undo/restore on the 'cross-world' permananet/persistant character data (which BTW requires a central secure server NOT run by any player) or have local characters in each world (defeating the cross-world element)

problem 3
The company dodges the copyright infringement/harassment lawsuit issues (of having open asset creation) by having the players running the servers be fully responsible versus the horrendous problem of Vetting all the servers by the company.

problem 4
Toolset for the asset creation will be important - its vital to get enough players able to add new content and its not just one tool but a suite of tools whgich have to integrate with each other as well as with the game engines requirements.

A good player community to help people create stuff will also be important (theres all levels of different skills and the idea is to have collaboration to let people add their bit with what they are capable of and to reuse/modify alot of the assets (or template assets) and do incremental improvemsnts)

Citadel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46626417)

They're calling themselves Citadel Studios and working in fantasy games?

Cue trademark lawsuit from Games Workshop in 3... 2... 1...

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