(This post have been migrated from my old blog)
Posted by Anders H Fri, August 29, 2008 12:53:07
Student's Massively Multiplayer Online Game Combat System
Sometimes ambition is a good thing; other times, it's a killer.
When I started at the IT-University(ITU) a group of students (Anne Yvind Thun, Frederik Tang & Thomas R.B. Hansen) had gotten the mad idea of creating a MMORPG as a student project. The ITU supported the idea and sponsored offices and computers for the development of the game. The concept was that students could do bits of the development as school-projects andd have their individual project as parts of the full game. This part of of the project went great; people produced a ton of projects.
Other parts of the project didn't go that well. There was organisational problems, issues with ressources and personal issues. I won't dwell on it, but I might open up if you buy me a beer.
The project was named SMMOG: Students Massively Multiplayer Online Game and was set in in a low-magic fantasy desert setting. I was assisstant project manager and game designer. I very quickly abandoned the assistent project manager position and focused on the design.
The roles on the team wasn't very clearly defined and I was doing design with Thomas Hansen & Stein Llanos (with whom I wrote my master-thesis). Stein and I both have very strong opinions on gamedesign and the discussion had a tendency to get heated. Eventually we decided that he was going to design the magic-system and I was going to do the combat system. We decided to base it on the Interlock-system (among other things used for R.Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk 2020 p&p-rpg), because we both knew the system and had a commen ground there.
The SMMOG-system had a few unique features. I distinguished between organic and designer character developement. Designed character development is the classic version where leveling gives you improvement points and you then allocate them in the desired way. In Organic character development, you answer a series of questions about your character and he's created based on these. In the game, the character are developed based on his actions: if you use your knife a lot, you get better at using it. Organic development is more realistic and less "immersion-breaking", but it's harder to change path during the game; - you basically have to learn something new from scratch.
SMMOG was also meant to be skillbased instead of levelbased; you would pick your skills according to your class, but you'd only advance the skills, - not your "level".
The combat in SMMOG was meant to be social. If you were in a group of players and you'd all designated the same enemy, you'd open up for some special combat options that were only available to groups; - really powerfull, cinematic options
Unfortunaly SMMOG never got off the ground. We bought a license for the Torque Engine and managed to import some of the art into it, but all the aforementioned issues eventually meant that the project died. But hey, it was massively over-ambitious.
I meet some great people on the project and think the combat-document is ok'ish.