Tools for the Job

First, be prepared for some hefty linkage here, while I set the stage throughout the post to give reference to what I’m talking about.

I was reading a post at Syncaine’s where he was talking about SW:TOR, and the results that “calling” it an MMO will have. Right now, it’s too early for me to really comment on the validity of his statements. I don’t know how the gameplay will be, or how closely it will adhere to typical MMO conventions. The short and long of it(or TLDR version for the internet lingo), as Syncaine puts it, is that the game is going to be more akin to an online, co-op single player RPG and that the MMO crowd will not receive that well. If the game is released like that, and lacking in an end-game method of progression, there very well may be problems. However, we don’t know for sure that’s the case.

That said, I want to gloss over that post and get to the heart of what I’m talking about here. Sid 6.7, of Serial Ganker, made a comment, or an observational statement to be more accurate, about how the focus of SW:TOR (story) could be used to further its primary goal. He then went on to make a post of his own about it, explaining in a bit more detail what he thinks should be available to developers of the game post lauch. His statement, and post, struck me as particularly interesting based on what I know of the game engine being used.

If you’ve been reading here for a while, or perused through my “MMO Characters & History” page, you might have remembered me talking about a game called Gemstone 4. This is a game created by Simutronics Corporation, who have been around for ever (Iron Crown Enterprises forever, if you get the reference). Simutronics started work on their own fully 3D MMO YEARS ago, according to their news archive, they launched the website for the game in October of 2004. To wrap this up a bit, they developed their own game engine for creating their MMO, called HeroEngine. If you have free time to spare, and you’re interested in this kind of thing, I strongly suggest checking out the videos they have of the engine in action at world building.

Hero Engine got some very interesting and positive attention after it was displayed at some E3, and given its pruported abilities, completely deserved. It’s most-touted features are its flexibility and adaptability. It is heavily pushed as a tool that lets you quickly and easily create worlds, events, changes, and many of the great things that GMs of old had in simpler worlds. It has a development tool called HeroBlade that is an integrated tool with a real-time interface with the game world that lets the developer affect everything from lighting to game mechanics.

What I’m trying to say, without making this sound like an advertisement, is that the very thing that Sid 6.7 was suggesting as a necessary tool to make SW:TOR successful, is the very thing that the game engine itself is reported to excel at, and he seemed to be unaware of this at the time of saying it. What this could mean for his theory, is that BioWare had the same conclusion, and chose this engine for that very reason, fully intent on constantly developing new stories and adventures for players to partake in.

Imagine a world, where developers ran events on a regular basis that changed the world/universe as you know it. It evokes memories for me of playing in small MUDs online, or in pencil and paper RPGs with friends and a great DM who knew how to make a world fun. I’m not saying SW:TOR will be that game, what I’m saying, is that tools like HeroEngine coming out give me hope for that type of gameplay in the future.

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

4 Responses to Tools for the Job

  1. Erbse says:

    While it sounds nice that they at any time could quickly rework the world or alter it, they on the other than hand would steal everything from you that you had when your first played / started the game. Nostalgic value is a huge point which eventually sucks you back to a game, possibly even repeatedly. In my case that’d EQ2 and PristonTale, even though deep down I know these days are over. Well, I’ve never been the event kinda guy in the first place, so it’s moot for me at best.

    Seems to be some sort of Heroin addiction hunting down ‘that’ feeling, in vein mind you.

    So far I’m not impressed with what I seen from the game, as it simply doesn’t appeal to me, then again I’m more of fantasy guy anyway rather than scifi.

    I don’t know if you ever played Red Faction, the original, when it came with the Geomod Engine which allowed you to literally blow holes into every wall and/or ground. Now, that’d be something I’d consider superb advancement as far as MMO’s are concerned when it comes to lets say keep takes or sieges of any kinds, where objects could be dynamically destroyed (and repaired for that matter). That probably is the MMO revolution I am waiting for, while I’m not even certain that it will ever come as it would be a major bitch for anyone to program let alone maintain.

    So far my choice of future play worthy MMO’s remains with FF14 for now, I admittedly haven’t read much about GW2 though, but unless they got rid of the instancing they did in GW1 I won’t consider it a true MMO anyway 😛

    • shadowwar says:

      If it makes you feel any better, ArenaNet has said they don’t even consider the first GW as a true MMO. FF14 makes sense given your prediliction for grinds, but I’m afraid it may be a bit much for me when looking at the FF MMO history. I’m not 100% anymore that I will play SW:TOR, at least, not at release. I may wait a bit, but my decision is still significantly far away given the limited information we have on the technical side of the game.

      As to the nostalgia, what you say is in part true, but the world of play is more than just static existence of certain areas or mobs. It’s a conglomeration of the entire experience, and if the world can become truly dynamic, with changes based on activities and world quests, I think it would be a step closer to actually making this virtual worlds a living realm. Destructible walls, interactative environments, responsive flaura & fauna would be a part of the whole as I see it.

  2. openedge1 says:

    I.C.E rules systems were DA BOMB.

    Now, you peak my interest sire…I have been on the back burner about this game, and the engine scares me also, as it is not in major usage….YET.

    Guess time will tell.

    Anyways, shout out to I.C.E!! Hooray.

  3. pitrelli says:

    My two main worries for SWTOR are instancing at every turn and what happens when the nice story runs out? Dont get me wrong I cant wait to see how they pull it off but from what little I’ve read it just sounds more like a single player game.

    If it is indeed going to be very story orientated then they will have to be on their toes with content and expansions/chapters.

    Anyway as I said I’m interested in seeing how it turns out, but much the same as The Secret World, I’m staying away from information leaks and expectation levels.

    ‘Imagine a world, where developers ran events on a regular basis that changed the world/universe as you know it. ‘

    This bit stood out for me as when in Champions Online closed beta the devs put on a few one off events which was pretty cool. More kinda stuff like that in MMOs would be a good thing.

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