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Theoretical Massive Online Games #1
Sun, 17 Jun 2007 20:12:00 GMT [download/play]



This week in a special Voyages of Vanguard production, Troy and his co-host Joe, speaks about TMOG, or the Theoretical Massive Online Games show. Each special episode will focus on specific radical and theoretical game designs for MMOs. In this episode, Troy and Joe, talk about what they would like to see in a new Stars Wars MMO. Troy talks briefly about the next TMOG show, and his epic fantasy role-playing game called, Phantasm Adventures
 
  • Shows Introduction
  • Star Wars Races and Character Generation
  • Star Wars Classes and skill system
  • Star Wars Planets and Travel
  • Star Wars Combat
  • Death in the Star Wars MMO
     
    Thanks for listening!
     
    A podcast devoted to Sony Online Entertainment's Massively Multiplayer epic, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Your host, Troy, delivers the news, strategies, and guides to the world of Telon. Voyages of Vanguard is part of the VirginWorlds MMO Podcast collective found at http://www.virginworlds.com

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    Episode 6 Discussion Thread

    'Where are the MP3's?' by varka
    Submitted on 2007-06-17 18:04:38 CST
    I haven't been able to download this episode of the last two WoW one's as MP3's from libsyn.


    'define please' by Brent
    Submitted on 2007-06-17 19:02:28 CST
    What do you mean by 'haven't been able to download them"?

    If you want to download the MP3s directly 'right click-save as' on the picture above.

    Also, if you're having trouble with the player on this page, use Firefox - seems to be sketchy in IE - however, there's a new player coming very shortly.



    'Thanks' by varka
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 00:09:52 CST
    Aaaah, thanks Brent. Didn't realise there was a link there too. I have always clicked on 'RSS podcast' and downloaded from there.

    When I got to work this morning the latest MP3 wasn't in the RSS feed, but it is now. I just checked Chronicles of WoW as well and episodes 20 and 21 aren't there.

    PS. Some facility to edit comments afterwards would be cool. Eg. My typo on the first post ('of' should be 'or') changes the meaning of the sentence entirely.



    'Good episode, but...' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 08:40:57 CST
    It was a good episode, but I do have some comments. The project cost would be close to 200 million. Having hundreds and hundreds of planets could only possibly be done by some sort of generator...and when you get into generators, you get planets that have no distinct features, and are just blank barren landscapes with a few trees here and there. If they choose to have a template of cities that get randomly placed into the planets, then once again, you eventually have a repeating effect. Making that many UNIQUE planets is far too time involving for companies to consider these days.

    Second is the character creation. While it is a good idea in essence, there are too many problems with it. Having the "appearance" of being able to do something is different than actually accomplishing it. By this I mean, for example, the cranium size comment. Just because a creature has a big brain does not mean it is smarter or CAN be smarter. Just because a creature appears to have more muscle mass, does not necessarily mean it's X strong. This is assuming all creatures are based on human characteristics.

    Skill based system...definitely. It's a shame games have developed more off of the EQ formula and not UO.

    Unfortunately, a game with this many features will never see the light of day. In a business sense, the cost would be far too much, the time involved would be 10+ years to do it correctly, and when it's released, chances are it would be too hardcore for the casual playerbase, which is what companies seem to be focusing on. Why make a game that 200,000 people will play and like, when you can make a game that 10 million would enjoy. Even though there are a lot of Star Wars fanatics out there, some of them just want to be a Stormtrooper, and play more of an FPS game. With too many features a large amount of people will be turned off...cheap thrills, and theme park designs are important. There is a reason why WoW is so linear and non-player driven...it attracts the most amount of people.



    'Star Wars Universe' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 09:32:29 CST
    Giga - I think you are basing your views on existing games. The game discussed will definitely exist in the next ten years. 200m ?dollars is peanuts when considering the Star Wars Universe. This is less than the cost of Waterworld! How much revenue is WoW raking in right now? They must be stacking it all up for a huge new release.

    It would be interesting to challenge a few people with some of the complexities and I suspect many of them are being talked about with STO as we post. I really support the move away from "game" to "universe" and the bringing of fun realism over unrealistic gameplay.

    I really enjoyed this podcast - it was something a bit refreshing, stimulating. Troy is like a creative bumblebee, whom however you swat him, you never hit and he keeps buzzing:)

    At the end it became a bit less focused, but all in all great work and I hope some of the MMO creatives do get to hear this and future similar podcasts.

    Having a few themed podcasts focuing on what might be would be very interesting - I have a few ideas too, if you want to chat about it...



    'That's my point' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 10:29:29 CST
    That's exactly my point though.

    "This is less than the cost of Waterworld! How much revenue is WoW raking in right now? They must be stacking it all up for a huge new release."

    WoW is making a lot of money because it caters to the casual playerbase. In order for a HUGE expensive project like this to exist, they need to be certain they will achieve that kind of playerbase. And with MMO saturation effecting the market place, I doubt an individual MMO will ever see WoW's numbers again.

    With the higher production costs comes the requirement for more revenue...meaning they will stoop into more widely accepted concepts.

    Plus, then you have to come up with a development company that is willing to put that time and money into a single project. I really do not see this happening. Yes there will be more hardcore games, but no where near what was expressed...at least not within the next 10 years (you have to figure development time for a game like this would be 7-10 years in itself)



    'Tip of the iceberg' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 11:40:56 CST
    Ok, well I don't feel we are talking "hardcore", I feel the discussion is about mainstreaming, as what is being suggested in more about "life" and "alternate reality" than "gaming", which is a niche pastime.

    I view WoW as the tip of a very large iceberg, where the market is 30-50% of the global population. Maybe it will be 50+ years before we get to there, but I hope I live to see it:)

    I bow to your greater experience on development time, but I would argue perhaps that Raph Koster's view of "piecemeal development" might well allow faster development. Also Troy's view of facilitation, as opposed to programming could also reduce the need for creatives.



    'Yeah' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 11:53:23 CST
    Yeah, it's an ugly market right now.

    If someone wants to make some nice money, start developing a robust toolset that companies can use to churn out their MMOs...but there are already 3 major companies that have been developing their toolsets for a while now, so it may be too late. Find a way to build an engine that is smart enough to design it's own unique landscapes and houses, and you're set. Imagine having an engine smart enough that you would just input the data you want, and using premade doodads, it places them together and builds totally original buildings, so no one building/landscape/planet is the same. It must contain core aspects as well...houses must have randomized furniture (even dishes), and landscapes must contain vegetation. Then expand that onto characters, and you have a realistic customized world.

    Unfortunately, I think casual games are the wave of the future. Bejeweled, Peggle...World of Warcraft. LOL. But hey...peggle is fun. I just hope the passion for games comes back. Sick of seeing products that are being thrown together strictly on the market and business aspects. They start off with such great plans, which are never carried out.

    Money destroys creativity and originality.



    'Leisure time expanding' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 12:13:09 CST
    Maybe I watch too much Star trek, but I'm sure that they are right that programming will consist of verbal commands in the holosuite at some point in the distant future:)

    Never heard of Peggle and Bejeweled was interesting a couple of times, but those are very much "entry market" products, which suit the current newbie market. I'm sure Java games will be around for a long while to come, but Vista's computing power - was it up to 256Gb iof RAM? - will reduce the need for browser-based net activity.

    VR was a hit when it was released, but quickly died a death, due to its lack of realism, but a realistic VR, with spectacles or even contact lenses replacing the screen will transform this into a new virtual world leisure market. Bring the WII motion sensor into it and hey presto - mainstream market.

    Anyway, I try not to be a cynic when it comes to money, and I sense there is a lot of MMO backers out there ready to cut there teeth with something groundbreaking.



    'Star Wars Must be Massive' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 21:37:59 CST
    Hi Guys, and thanks for the thoughts and comments on the show.

    I must preface much of your comments with the thought that Joe and I was merely talking about theoretical design and not practical design -- two completely different concepts.

    As for too many worlds, one of my comments that was made is that in future games, its not the studios that are going to be making the game, but the players. So there wont be thousands of randomly generated worlds, but thousands of planets generated by guilds and player communities. Perhaps from there, random elements can be thrown into the planet to allow the designers (e.g. players) to explore their own worlds.

    Money to someone like Lucas Arts and whomever else designs it, will be paltry to the returns if it is cutting edge and done right. I must agree with Scytale that games in the future will be just as expensive as Movies, but will generate far more money over time.

    I agree with you a bit. gigawatt, with the examples given, but not to the overall structure of the character design. Perhaps larger brains and heavier muscle mass may not necassarily lead to greater intelligence or strength, but the idea behind those constructs are sound. A Star Wars race need only follow the physical laws laid down by the designers, to allow such varients and specifications. The ability to create a wide variety of races would be a radical departure from what is available now, and would offer the creativity and re-playability of the game.

    Again, the name of the show, says it all. The podcast is about theoretical designs and not overtly about practical or possible applications. That said, much can be gained with theoretical concepts both abstract and concrete.

    Again, I enjoy all ideas and opinions about the show. TMOG 2 is already in the works.



    'Yup, agree PT.1' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 23:52:46 CST
    Yup, I realized this is a theoretical MMO show, I just wanted to state the more practical side of "why" we don't see this kind of MMO today. I actually see this question asked a lot on some MMO forums, and why people keep bringing up the "WoW-clone" phrase when describing new games.

    I have no doubt games will enter the hundreds of millions of dollars range, but not for games like this. You figure the production costs of a game like this, plus operational fees (servers) will be enormous. After all, that much data from that many worlds is QUITE a load, and the staff required to serve the community. That is the main problem with player created content. No matter what content is created, it must be housed by the main servers...hosting it locally off of player's machines is unsafe, and opens the game to hacking. A game of this magnitude would require a healthy playerbase which would require healthy servers. As players make more and more content, the company's cost raises respectively. On small items this doesn't matter as it won't take up much space, but each planet would pretty much have to be an instance...and that is the biggest strain.

    It would be years before they turned a profit...possibly even *never*. Assume for instance that we are basing this solely on a subscriber base of 4 million players. That is an extremely healthy community for an MMO. Do not add in advertising, micro-transactions, etc, at $15 per month will yield a solid $60 million per year (not including taxes or deductions from maintenance fees)

    It's unfortunate, but the games the hardcore playerbase is looking for will, unfortunately, be dumbed down and things will have to be taken away. The marketplace for hardcore MMO gamers is shrinking. In the end we will be left will only niche titles that carry a 150,000-300,000 subscriber population.

    Now if a company would develop a game like this over a period of time, that would be one way of tackling the situation. For example, starting small, but a good enough game to get some subscribers. Make income while developing the game into the full game it was always aimed to be...but that still is a long shot. Most recent "accidental" attempt of this method can be seen by Vanguard.



    'Yup, agree PT.2' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-18 23:53:05 CST
    Initial release is big for games...if they can't come out strong, it's hard to do a full comeback. EQ2 has proven its ability to change a game for what the majority considers better, but it still is, and will be, behind what it could have been.

    Best part of City of Heroes/Villains is the character customization. Thousands and thousands of possibilities. Even their dual-set system is notable when it comes to level-based games. For those who have not played, when you create a character, first you pick the class, then you pick the primary power set, and then the secondary power set.

    Definitely looking forward to episode 2! Love theoretical discussions, except when the hopes and dreams get smashed as business is brought into the picture. I think that is the main bonus to tabletop games...your imagination doesn't cost anything and requires no upgrades.


    On a quick side note, LANDMARKS! Landmarks are missing in SO many games and upcoming games it's ridiculous. When creating a world, companies MUST remember to put in Grand Canyons and Everests...If I am in an enormous landmass I want to be able to navigate by landmarks if I choose to do so. This even opens up the possibility of player mapping.



    'Star Wars is Culturally Significant' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-06-19 17:42:37 CST
    Thanks for the ideas and thoughts on the show, Gigawatt. I would be interested in knowing where you garner some of the figures that you talk about. Are you in the industry and know first hand, or are you just projecting figures from articles and blogs that you have read?

    Your comments are quite lengthy, and often hard to refute or discuss bebause of their verbosity.

    I would just say for both Joe and I, that Star Wars is a cultural Icon, and would appeal not to just millions but dare I say billions world wide. Fans of Star Wars are fanatics and have no problem debating, discussing or even playing a game with very complicated game and social structures. Needless to say, such a game could be huge in size and still attract ungoldy number of players.

    As for the computer requirements, would NASA in the 60s, think that a guy living in a trailer park would have more computing power than what it took to land a guy on the moon? Multi-cores are the wave of the future, with hundreds of cores being commonplace on the desktop. The same would hold true for memory, hard drives, and video systems.

    Both Joe and I bristle at the idea that you have to make a game, peggle-like, to attract allot players. I just dont buy it....Every industry has gone through the same growth phase...and saying that all games will converge into peggle like things, is akin to all TV being reduced to Dukes of Hazard or Gilligan's Island. Thats not where the money or the people are.





    'Long ass response PT1 -- Sorry!' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-19 20:47:21 CST
    While I myself am not in the industry, a family member is, so I get a lot of source information from him. When it comes to the marketing side, however, I am strictly looking at things in a general sense. Didn't want to get into taxes, micro-transactions, advertisements, etc, because they are bit of a moot point. I figured subscription numbers was the easiest way to set a base income for the project.

    I do agree that the Star Wars fanbase is absolutely enormous. However, when you break it down, you have to look at true potential customers. With such a high-tech game would come high system requirements. That is the first road block in consuming some of the fanbase. The second hurdle comes from subscription costs...a lot of people are still opposed to paying a monthly fee for games. The third hurdle is the age group. Much of the older Star Wars fans...the dedicated ones that actually saw the first movies in the movie theater, are aged now and are dispursed around the world, whether it be from their career, families, etc. This makes their gaming time quite scarce, and if they are only able to play for 8 hours a week, they might not choose to spend on a monthly fee. There is no debate that $15 a month is a fantastic deal for MMOs, but a *LOT* of people out there still have problems opening their wallets. There is a young Star Wars fanbase as well, but this is my main point. You have to see the Star Wars fanbase as a whole, and then begin funneling the number down to "possible" consumers. This is one of the main steps when companies begin developing a financially successful product, and necessary as it will give them an estimate on how much money they can spend on development. Not only that, but this information is what investors and company heads require before they are willing to set a budget.



    'Long ass response PT2 -- Sorry!' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-19 20:47:39 CST
    I have no doubt that technology will be increased over the years. Unfortunately, however, many people never buy the latest and greatest equipment. It may be quite some time until the people would get caught up to have an enjoyable experience. This also places a damper on what kind of technology will be used in the game. Most companies aim to just "slightly" push the barrier; Crysis and Vanguard for example. At this time, it is not practical in a business perspective to build too far into the future. While all companies are steadily developing future products, they do understand the falloff effect. Say for example a company begins building an absolutely astonishing piece of technology right now, and they aim to have it released within 10 years. 5 years into development, another company releases a product that would have cut their development time in half. That is a loss for the other company...they are very aware of these situations. Technology increases exponentially, and from that it makes it very dangerous for long-term developments. By the time their product is released, it may not be so great as it was 2 years prior.

    I do know that there will be more serious games that will continue to exist. Gaming is quickly overturning films and television...people love interaction. The thing is, as the market increases in games that are available to the consumer, the overall potential customer base shrinks. If there are 200 people willing to play MMOs, and there are 2 MMOs out there, they will have a larger subscription base as opposed to if there are 10 MMOs out there. This is assuming that all 10 MMOs are legitimate and offer some sort of entertainment to the consumer. The extra 8 MMOs will pull in people that would not originally be interested in the genre (eg. People who will *only* play a Star Wars MMO), but that number is still, generally, quite small. And being as this is an unknown factor, many companies see this as a risk...they are not willing to take that risk when they can make much more money off of casual games. Look at the Nintendo DS, The Sims, Guitar Hero, or Dance Dance Revolution for example. While people are spending more time gaming, they are often spending it playing quick, flashy, and casual games.



    'Long ass response PT3 -- Sorry!' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-19 20:48:22 CST
    I have no doubt that technology will be increased over the years. Unfortunately, however, many people never buy the latest and greatest equipment. It may be quite some time until the people would get caught up to have an enjoyable experience. This also places a damper on what kind of technology will be used in the game. Most companies aim to just "slightly" push the barrier; Crysis and Vanguard for example. At this time, it is not practical in a business perspective to build too far into the future. While all companies are steadily developing future products, they do understand the falloff effect. Say for example a company begins building an absolutely astonishing piece of technology right now, and they aim to have it released within 10 years. 5 years into development, another company releases a product that would have cut their development time in half. That is a loss for the other company...they are very aware of these situations. Technology increases exponentially, and from that it makes it very dangerous for long-term developments. By the time their product is released, it may not be so great as it was 2 years prior.

    I do know that there will be more serious games that will continue to exist. Gaming is quickly overturning films and television...people love interaction. The thing is, as the market increases in games that are available to the consumer, the overall potential customer base shrinks. If there are 200 people willing to play MMOs, and there are 2 MMOs out there, they will have a larger subscription base as opposed to if there are 10 MMOs out there. This is assuming that all 10 MMOs are legitimate and offer some sort of entertainment to the consumer. The extra 8 MMOs will pull in people that would not originally be interested in the genre (eg. People who will *only* play a Star Wars MMO), but that number is still, generally, quite small. And being as this is an unknown factor, many companies see this as a risk...they are not willing to take that risk when they can make much more money off of casual games. Look at the Nintendo DS, The Sims, Guitar Hero, or Dance Dance Revolution for example. While people are spending more time gaming, they are often spending it playing quick, flashy, and casual games.

    Sorry for the length of my comments! This is a very intricate topic and it requires information to be pulled from numerous sources.



    'Long ass response PT3 -- Sorry!' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-19 20:52:10 CST
    The amount of MMO players worldwide will increase in the future, but with the amount of games coming out, it makes it truly dangerous for the developers. While a fantastical game such as this may come out, I do not see it coming out within the next 10 years. I know there will be games similar to this coming out (cannot say much more than that as this information comes first-hand), but it is more or less aiming for a niche audience. A lot of people out there are not willing to spend the time in such a realistic experience like this. The majority of people will always prefer fast instant action gratification from games like Halo, and companies understand this. While they can make mass amounts of money off of a single MMO, they can make 2-3 less-grandiose games in the same development time, and pull in the same amount of money. I do not think we will ever see a market giant like WoW again. This does not mean it can't happen, but personally I feel it is highly unlikely.


    'A few addenda' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 04:36:14 CST
    Giga, I think in your lengthy responses, you have missed a couple of things:

    a) Troy is envisaging a different development methodology, i.e. one which is player-built. This means that worlds or sets of worlds will be hosted separately and potentially charged for separately. I would suggest that players (or even separate companies) bid to run these worlds, licensed and linked up by Sony or Bioware, whomever. Their charges would be more like $2-3/month, as their objective would be to be part of a universe, not THE universe. The Host company would just run the baisc worlds, like Tatooine etc.

    b) Technology - well I think to some extent this is flattening out. The whole issue of multi-processor could mean that upgrading is or will be easier soon and certainly it will be in the next 5 years. Also with the huge increase in RAM possibilities with Vista, the issue of multitasking will become far more relevant. I also think that a game will start to allow you to decide on "what" you want processed, as opposed to just mking the graphics looking prettier, as we approach the benchmark of having graphics as good as our own vision.

    Re- market giants, well I don't agree at all. I've said before that WoW's current subscriber base is tiny compared to what we will see in the future. Even in Africa, a very high proportion of people have mobile phones and this virtual world will be so "sexy" that everyone will want a part of it.



    'Yeah Pt.1 ' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 10:08:56 CST
    a) If it were hosted by players or separate companies then that would work as it would take quite a load off of the main company's costs. However, anything that is available to be hosted by the player can be easily hacked as the source code is readily available to them. They would have to find a way to completely secure the game from packet editing, which as of yet, no company has been able to do. Even the MMOs on the market right now can be easily hacked, if they allow players to run the server, it will be that much easier. Not to mention if the extra world's are player/server hosted, then there must be a main data server able to store everyone's items and characters, so people will not randomly lose things when those worlds crash. Also, you have to assume that the player's will have machines capable of running such large content. With that many worlds, many of them would be barren. What makes the mass public want to go there and explore? It is like Saga of Ryzom which allows players to develop their own content and let others explore it. It is also similar to a Battle.Net setup of individual player hosted matches.

    b) As technology increases, companies begin to release their products later and later. This is due to the fact that they know if they release a product on month 6, and on month 16 release a "slight" upgrade, they will make quite a bit of money. They love slight upgrades (as we can see in the “Buy a new computer and it won't be top of the line in a week” kind of industry). They will also put a cap on what kind of power is available to the consumer...I wouldn't be surprised if the Government stepped in on this phase (through the peer to peer channel). If computers begin to level off then we will see no need for multiple companies, like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, or AMD, as they essentially would all be the same machines. This is very detrimental to them, and they are aware of this.



    'Yeah Pt.2' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 10:09:14 CST
    c) WoW's subscription base is small in the sense of the total MMO population. A countless number of MMOs are being released, however. Let's use WoW's 8.5 million subscriptions as a base number. If future games follow the trend of achieving a 150,000-2 million (average 1,075,000 per game) subscription rate, then in order to surpass WoW's numbers when 6 more games are out makes it increasingly harder. As of right now you only have few top contenders. When more "polished" games come out to challenge WoW's throne, it's numbers will fall. In a recent census WoW has shown a slight decrease in the number of people playing...however, this number is only people playing, and not people subscribing. All of those users may still be subscribed to the game because they are just taking a break...we will not know because Blizzard refuses to have those numbers readily available. It was also shown that the recent Lord of the Rings Online took a chunk of the WoW playerbase. When Warhammer Online and Age of Conan are released, you will most likely see another drop. AoC will bring in a slew of console gamers that are new to the genre as well.

    If the game was that grand I assure you multiple companies would have similar products. Now because of Blizzard's success, companies spy on each other much more when it comes to these types of games. If any company was given word that a game like this was being developed, you can be assured that multiple similar games would be released...and a game requiring this much money to operate would mean many, if not all of those games would crumble.



    'Yeah Pt.2' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 10:09:48 CST
    The development time required for a game of this size would be 7-10 years. We do not yet have the technology or consumers required to keep a project like this running. Companies are bringing out more hack & slash/shoot em up MMOs to appeal to a larger audience. In essence, less serious games.

    In reality, we would need to see a large boom in the amount of MMO players in the world. Nearly triple what it is now. Not that many people are able to enter the genre...one of the best things to look at is Steam's hardware polls. It shows what the average computer user is currently running, and those are based only off of people using Steam. Some people can't even run Half Life 2 right now.



    'Further response' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 10:51:53 CST
    I think you have answered some points yourself - you are saying the hardware giants are guilty of unfair trading or cartel, whatever you would like to call it. A change to this in the next five years will change the pastures that we currently live in.

    I still feel you are focusing on gaming, which is a niche area. I am talking about "socialising", which isn't. Socialising is a very big market and virtual worlds are going to have a very large slice of it.

    To an extent playing a "game" gives many people a desire to "hack", as it means they have a reason to cheat, i.e. a better character. In a virtual world/universe, the artificiality of "character progression" need not be implemented. It could well be about " adventure and solving mysteries, rather than stat improvement.

    Did Harrison Ford get great loot during his stay in the Temple of Doom? Did Sherlock Holmes ostensibly become a better detective gradually as he solved mysteries? Maybe he did, but that was the person getting better through brainpower, not the game improving their stats.



    'Further response' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 10:52:58 CST
    I think you have answered some points yourself - you are saying the hardware giants are guilty of unfair trading or cartel, whatever you would like to call it. A change to this in the next five years will change the pastures that we currently live in.

    I still feel you are focusing on gaming, which is a niche area. I am talking about "socialising", which isn't. Socialising is a very big market and virtual worlds are going to have a very large slice of it.

    To an extent playing a "game" gives many people a desire to "hack", as it means they have a reason to cheat, i.e. a better character. In a virtual world/universe, the artificiality of "character progression" need not be implemented. It could well be about " adventure and solving mysteries, rather than stat improvement.

    Did Harrison Ford get great loot during his stay in the Temple of Doom? Did Sherlock Holmes ostensibly become a better detective gradually as he solved mysteries? Maybe he did, but that was the person getting better through brainpower, not the game improving their stats.

    Ok, people will still hack, but it will be hacking to spoil other people's enjoyment, not to get a better toon!



    'True, but' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 12:03:08 CST
    Yes I'm focusing on gaming because that is where the main concern was at. Socialization is another topic which brings in MSN/AIM/Second Life.

    Players willing to pay a monthly fee want character progression of some sort. Whether it be from levels, items, etc...the majority are not willing to pay $15 a month for a simple chat program. Harrison Ford did after all gain knowledge like you said, which could be seen as Achievement Points. This is similar to the Myst franchise, which also has an MMO on the market right now based around solving puzzles...needless to say, it is not doing so well.

    While I do agree that 3d social applications will exist in the future, they will serve a general purpose. People that want to chat will use chat programs (be it 2d or 3d). People that pay subscription fees want some form of interactive entertainment...people also enjoy being rewarded. They like to see that they are accomplishing things, and where there are things to be done, there is room for cheating.

    People willing to role-play to this extent is very small. I cannot see cell phones, bars, malls, bowling alleys, movie theaters, etc being replaced by virtual worlds that offer no core gameplay.



    'Gigawatt your new task is to answer in 20 words or less' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 12:18:07 CST
    All I can say is that verbosity does not lend to credability. Keep your answers to manageable length. I always like feedback, but brevity is often much better than overt rambling.

    I think Joe and I have a different idea of the future than you. Not that your ideas are bad, but I just dont agree with most of what you said. Perhaps if you like, we could set up an interview with you, Joe, and I and talk about the possibilites of theoretical gaming?



    'Gigawatt your new task is to answer in 20 words or less' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 12:19:08 CST
    All I can say is that verbosity does not lend to credability. Keep your answers to manageable length. I always like feedback, but brevity is often much better than overt rambling.

    I think Joe and I have a different idea of the future than you. Not that your ideas are bad, but I just dont agree with most of what you said. Perhaps if you like, we could set up an interview with you, Joe, and I and talk about the possibilites of theoretical gaming?



    'Hahah' by Gigawatt
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 12:40:45 CST
    Yeah sorry about the length, but I do not see them as overt rambling. Something like this isn't that easy to answer in 3 sentences (except this post ironically, lol)


    'Fee systems' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-06-20 15:06:13 CST
    You may well be right with regard to monthly direct debit systems for character progression, so in that case I would favour an "entrance fee" system.

    Can you not envisage phoning a mate and saying "Ok, where shall we go tonight? The plains of Azeroth or maybe Stephen Donaldson's "The Land" or maybe let's go biking out in Arizona or perhaps on a zoology field trip in the mangrove swamps of Australia? Each of these places has an entrance fee, just like going to the cinema and may well be hosted on a mini-server, which when it is full, it is full....somehow this sounds a moneyspinning idea to me, but maybe I am misreading the market...

    Back on the hacking side, what you might do, is that any progress made would have to be cashed in on the central server (and verified) before it could be utilised. This should help avoid hacked characters.

    Oh I should add, based on theme of the podcast, "Well, what about going podracing tonight on Tatooine?"



    'My idea for races ' by Dathmar
    Submitted on 2007-06-22 05:12:05 CST
    Great Pocast - loved the ideas.

    You know what I would love to see in a game ?
    Sort of like what you have described already....but you design your character in a CoH type fashion but with Vanguard type sliders etc...
    ...but instead of saying this character is going to be say....
    A Travak from the planet Boorgon

    All the races are already in the game's database and dependant on what you character looks like and which features you have added to the character the game decides which race this character is nearest to....
    Obviously the more options you have on looks will mean more races....but I just think that you shouldn't decide on a race because of the stats / abilities it provides - but more on what you what to look like....which to me adds to the RPG side of things. I think abilities and stats should be something separate to the race (within reason)



    'Why' by Warin
    Submitted on 2007-06-26 20:58:31 CST
    I just typed in voyages of vanguard in my itunes store searcher and I click play, I'm greeted with 2 people rambling about star wars... and there was no warning what so ever. Not to mention they're only seeing this from the players view. think about the designers, and what they have to do with modelling. Releasing clothes armor etc would be a nightmare. Please what do you think you will accomplish with this? ;P
    Come play a starwars mud or something and use that fantasy on something that will matter.
    Anyway wanted news about vanguard not this...



    'Try the other episodes' by Brent
    Submitted on 2007-06-26 22:33:44 CST
    I think Troy is just fine experimenting and doing some special non-Vanguard shows. If you took the time to listen to any of the others you'd find that they are wall-to-wall Vanguard info of the highest quality. Give it another shot. There's 6 shows with nothing but Vanguard material. Enjoy.