How to start your own MMO (part 2)

Now this is more about where to start and what to learn.
If you want to make very specifically an MMO there is a huuuuuge amount of stuff to learn and depending what your skillsets and interests are, the starting Point should be chosen accordingly.
Making an MMO is a big task, but dreams are rarely small eh? 🙂

So where to start?
I think one starting point would be, to do what you already know and build up on that, like if you are an artists, start with drawing concepts or game mockups (fake screenshots), characters etc.
If you are a programmer, you could figure out, if you want to use a specific language (though the best would be to stick what you feel comfortable with, since every language has it’s up and down sides).
If you are a writer or like to write stories, start with that.

Another starting point could be to start what interests you, no matter if you have skills for it or not. Interest in a topic/ curiosity is a really big motivator and helps alot against walls you will encounter.
As example, I’m really interested in free modifyable terrains, like Voxel Terrains, because I think, they allow for such a freedom and “realism” in landscapes that Heightmaps just can’t do. Also I think that so far no voxel solution has exactly what I need, so I want to do it myself. I’m starting by learning how to create 1 voxel on the screen and then go on to apply a texture to that etc.

If you need to reduce the options, try to figure out if there are things that you are not interested into at all or what you really don’t like to do.
Knowing this is as important as knowing what you want to do, because then you know what to spend less time on or just do the rudimentary necessary and then look for people who would like to do this specific thing, when you think you are ready 🙂

If you are interested into having results as fast as possible, you could look for Game Development Kits (game engines like unity), pre-made assets, prototyping, MMO specialized developing kits, working through a full game tutorial, Networking for unity etc.
As far as I know, there is tons of material out there to get a visible game on screen relatively fast (unreal even has a non-programming node system, which you can create game logic with). It won’t be pretty and it most likely won’t be very impressive or looking like any MMO you know, but it’s a start.

And with this there is also one other thing to keep in mind:
It will not be World of Warcraft, it also will not be Ultima online or any big fancy names out there. Not NOW! It will not even be close to that in the beginning.
Any MMO starts small and it’s easy to underestimate the amount of work that needs to be put into it, to even create the smallest and tiniest functionalities that you got used to from modern MMOs or games in general.
One of the reasons why probably alot will say to not even consider starting an MMO is because you have to fill all the roles, from sound to music to programming to art etc. and each of these roles have a big load of work to do, for every asset and functionality you want to have ingame, you need proper responses and interaction possibilities for the player.
Just as an example: If you want the player to move per rightclick to a spot you point on the ground, you will need to code how the cursor position on the screen (2D) translates into a 3D coordinate on the ground, it needs to recognize where the ground is. Then you probably also want some kind of feedback for the player, like a cross on the ground, you have to make the graphic for that and then display it on the ground and it needs to delete itself and reappear whenever you click on the ground or reach the target.
Then you also need the character to move, so you need to transform it’s position and ideally it also has Animations that are following the direction of where you are going AND your camera should be following your character, always pointing towards the character or being moved by the player. Then you also want footstep sounds as a feedback for the player and most likely you also want not just a cube but a proper 3d model, with textures! and maybe even character customization? so you need a model for EVERY variety of your character and test every possible combination etc.
It’s really easy to go out of hand and also really easy to loose out of sight what you actually wanted to try out.

It’s good to make a list of things you want to have, sort them by Priority
-make the tasks as small as possible
-prioritize tasks that are fundamental for other tasks to solve
-categorize tasks in what you think is important for your game, you could use colors to sort them into “I want this!” “I’m okay not having this” “I don’t need this for the game to work”

you can recognize if tasks are small enough for actual working on them, if you can clearly see what needs to be done, like as example:
making an inventory, is too abstract, better is:
-create rectangles for inventory slots (graphics)
-position rectangles on screen (programming)
-drag and drop items with leftclick hold and release mousebutton (programming, this could be too big already)
-create item example to test drag and drop(graphics)
-recognize that mouse is on inventory(programming) etc.
-create a swoosh sound for resizing inventory(sound)

I think you get the point, it is very important to learn how to make tasks so small that it becomes clear what you need to do and it will also give you an image of how much you need to do.

Simplificated: As long as you are not sure, what skills are needed to achieve something, the task is not small enough.
When you can not determine even roughly how long it will take you, the task is most likely not small enough.
If you can not tell where to start, it’s most likely not small enough.

When someone asks “how to make an MMO” they most likely did not look deep enough in what an MMO is build of.
And there are alot of layers….

So keep in mind, if you want to make an MMO, it won’t be beautiful, it won’t be nice, it might not work very well, it might not be online at first, it might not look like much, but if you spend alot of time on it and improve it as you learn and not give up on it, it will eventually be a real and living MMO, that is being played by someone.

You succeeded, when atleast one person likes it 🙂
(yourself is not excluded from that)

The End.


4 thoughts on “How to start your own MMO (part 2)

  1. Wow, you have written a lot^^ Had to do quite some reading.

    I hope it’s okay if I summerize my thoughts to your last two posts here.

    I totally agree to your motivational speech. It is very well written and I had to think a lot of my own path of life and compare it to yours.

    I guess I really was lucky with my art school since we just did like one lesson related to advertisement. We had that with the sketches too though. <.<
    I can really see why they tell you to make a lot of sketches, but I will never understand why they tell you to NOT take the first one when you really feel that this sketch is the one… and making more just results in taking the first one anyway.

    heh, the RC cart and the wii nunchuck xD

    Ther is no limit… aye. It practically comes down to this. There are only those limits that you set to yourself, knowingly or not. When others tell you you can't reach a goal you are looking for, you're going to believe it and limit yourself. But life shouldn't be about what others tell you. Listen to them, accept advise of them, but don't let it get you down just because someone else thinks you can't do it.

    I bet a lot of people are struggling because they are putting up limits themselves… being unsure of their own skills and how to start and follow their dreams, whatever they might be. I've got A LOT of problems with that too, always questioning what I have done, what I can do and what I maybe could reach.

    But it's exactly like you've written it. If you want to start a game, just start. It's only your own will that limits what you can do… or opens up what it can become. You can always improve your work. You can always improve yourself.

    Just taking WoW as example too… I had to think of those old screenshots from the alpha I've found a while ago.
    They started small too^^

    Thanks for what you are writing, this really is motivating. I believe that other like-minded people will feel the same when they stumble over your blog.

    Also thanks for our little talk back in Wurm. I was in a hurry because of work (always a good idea to log in 10 minutes before you have to go, right? xD) and couldn't properly thank you, but I really appreciate your input 🙂

    …what brings me to some questions I had in mind for a few days. I hope you don't mind me asking!

    – How come you're using Unity? Why not UDK or some of the other engines around there?
    Just curious since my partner and me are still not sure what to use for some testing (although I do have good memories of Unity… I HAVE to play Ragnaröck again, hehe)
    …I have a prototype of a cube you can move with your mouse for Unity too. Ugh, pathfinding xD It's funny when you haven't properly coded it and the cube moves over the crude house models instead of around it!

    – How long have you actually thought about making a blog?
    I sometimes thought about it too (not game developement related) but it always ended in "it's not going to be read anyway". :/

    – Do you have any tips/advise on how to get someone started in art?
    I found out that my partner used to draw a lot before we met each other. Mostly technical stuff (space ships :D) and tribals, but he stopped when he saw what I could do and this really hurts me. He stopped because he thinks I'm so much better (despite me actually thinking my stuff is bad) and he thinks he can't do anything comparable… but I want him to draw again. When I tell him to, he answers with "teach me how to draw" -.- I don't think you can acutally teach that. It's just sitting somewhere and drawing and drawing and drawing until it looks like what you're seeing or what you have in mind. But I'm always open for suggestions 😮

    So… uh… sorry for that wall of text. I have a lot to think about now.
    Keep up your work and your motivation.
    …and tell us when we can playtest your prototype^^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Believe it or not, your words and even the questions are very helpful for me too, as you can guess there are alot of nay-sayers out there, who’s only purpose it seems to be to tell people that they can’t do it or how stupid whatever they do is. So hearing that my words reached someone, is very important to me 🙂
      to your questions:
      regarding Unity, I made a decision 🙂 Can’t say it was simple to shut off my mind about it, that this or that could be better or this or that engine could be delivering more beautiful results etc. but I think ultimately it’s some facts that made me choose unity: I have alot of game ideas and Unity is a “generalist” game engine, it’s not specialized on any kind of game type, like UDK is more aimed towards FPS games, same for unity. Then there is the asset store, having access to so many assets is awesome and you can just download them with one click from within unity and also opens options to eventually make an asset myself for unity and sell it 🙂
      Then the language, I was not sure what programming language to learn, but after I found out that I like C#, unity seemed even more interesting 🙂 and there was alot more going on, but simply I just made a decision and sticked to it, because I have to start somewhere and in the end, all the advanced topics that might pose problems with an engine I chose, I can hopefully solve then, since I should be more experienced then 🙂

      How long was I thinking about making a blog? I did find a blog I started 2 years or so before this one and the first page was quite similar to my first page on this blog, but I never continued it. I think tbh, even though the idea crossed my mind several times, I always thought I have nothing interesting to talk about or that whatever I do it’s not worth it or that I’m not good enough etc.
      But the more I researched about game development and how frustrated I got that you always hear those “success” stories from people, that seem to leave out all the negative aspects, insecurities, that would make them appear more human, the more I thought I should do it, no matter how crappy I think it is, because in any case, if I manage to do what I am aiming for, then this will be a very helpful ressource for anyone who gets interested in making games (even though I would say it fits quite broadly to dreams instead of just game development). And the nice side effect is, after I made that decision and hold on to it, it became clear that I am already helping some people 🙂 which makes me very happy^^
      Oh and regarding the “it’s not gonna be read anyway” I joked about it on some pages I think, that I don’t care if anyone reads my brainfarts or not 🙂 I’m mainly doing this for myself, so I can better track my progress and maybe some day I can look back at it and say: whoa 😛

      Do you have any tips/advise on how to get someone started in art?
      haha I’m kinda struggling with that myself XD I think one thing that can be applied to the comparing to others problem is, that it makes no sense 😛 if one just continues drawing, it will become better, no matter if you focus on becoming better or not and it shouldn’t be the goal to become as good as someone else, because that someone else will continue developing their skills also. It’s better to focus on just having fun, enjoy drawing, enjoy that you can do something recognizable on the paper 🙂 enjoy that even if you are crappy right now and maybe you can’t see how your good art will look like that it’s 100% certain, that it is and will be a unique style of drawing, no one draws like you 🙂
      I tried to accept that I’m only partially someone who likes to draw, I don’t seem to have that “obsession” with it, but I also know I can draw alot if I want to, it’s just that I’m mainly using drawing for practical reasons, like transferring ideas, exploring some subjects, being able to visualize what I’m thinking etc. and for that purpose it doesn’t need to look “good”. A bit like the Blog also, I don’t write into it every day and sometimes I write more and sometimes less and mostly I’m doing it for myself, but the more I do it, the better and more comfortable i become with doing it and the more it becomes kinda part of my life 🙂 and it’s imperativ! that I write about what I want to write and not what I think others would like to hear! the same is for art, draw for yourself, not for others, not for what you think others would like, then the comparison to someone elses drawings starts to suddenly sound just ridiculous, because it’s about YOU, not that other artist 🙂

      so in that sense you are kinda right…you can not teach someone how to love drawing, they have to figure that out themselves…you can teach them how to draw (the technical part) but thats only a tool.

      Liked by 1 person

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