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Role Playing (Games) Games

Player-Run MMORPG By Former Ultima Online Devs Finding Kickstarter Success 33

An anonymous reader writes: Shards Online has returned to Kickstarter with a refocused plan and a promise to match pledges dollar-for-dollar up to their goal. With just a week gone by, they have already reached 75% of their goal. Project Lead Derek Brinkmann says, "If Ultima Online and Neverwinter Nights had a love child, Shards Online would be the result. By combining the persistent virtual world of Ultima Online with the freedom of community run servers and the ability to act as a dungeonmaster in Neverwinter Nights, we are creating a paradise for roleplayers where you are no longer constrained by the rules handed to you by the development team." The team now has their sights set on their stretch goals like more animations for roleplayers and an extra game world to be released at Alpha.
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Player-Run MMORPG By Former Ultima Online Devs Finding Kickstarter Success

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  • Our NWN Persistent World, Avlis [] is really showing its age, but unfortunately there really hasn't been a spiritual successor to Neverwinter Nights' PW system. Once this thing is up, it will hopefully bring us into this decade.
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @08:27PM (#48414143)

    Game companies and developers are there own worst enemies these days. It's hard to find anything that doesn't have horrible flaws put in so the game company can charge you to avoid them. At least with player run worlds the people playing will have a connection and ownership interest in seeing that their experience stays a good one.

    • by Orleron ( 835910 )
      I agree, and more than just for financial reasons.

      Commercially-run servers by the big game houses need to make money to stay around.... lots of it, enough to please stock holders. Consequently, that precipitates a certain kind of atmosphere in the game: one of level treadmills and content micropayments. For the most part, these aspects are contrary to roleplaying and immersion, IMHO.

      Do not get me wrong. I play DDO currently as my game of choice and I love nothing more sometimes than to jump in and ki

    • by Draconi ( 38078 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:06PM (#48414719)

      Exactly, which is why we went indie and have remained that way with Shards Online.

      Big companies would never run this kind of game - we all came from working for the larger publishers, and many of us from working on Ultima Online.

      The whole idea is to build a full MMO and then turn it over to the players. Will we run our own servers? Sure! We can do events, live patches, and add new content regularly. But the most important thing is to have a highly polished end product that community servers don't just treat like middleware: it's a full game to customize how they see fit!

    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

      The player community can be ruin a game too though. So many player-run worlds become stupid arena-style PvP or modded-up messes. There's also the underbelly of the community of gamer griefers/cheaters/exploiters which are best kept in check by an active developer coupled with server admins. Player run worlds are great in theory, but there is a role for designer to be involved enough to protect gamers from themselves without making them feel too restricted. That's a tough balance to strike...

  • It looks cool... but so did the last 20 kickstarter games I thought looked cool and either never got finished, or the developers totally changed what the game was about or removed the feature I thought would be cool just weeks before it was released.

    I'm sorry, but I don't think a single game I've doled out money for on kickstarter has turned out in a such a way that I was later glad I'd spent it. I really hope this game lives up to what they're promising but I have a feeling that what we'll really end up wi

    • by Orleron ( 835910 )
      A Neverwinter clone isn't such a bad thing if it's more customizable, expandable, and with a better UI.
    • by TyFoN ( 12980 )

      This game is not vaporware, the money is to bring it to alpha.
      The devs were streaming ingame last weekend with a few other players showing stuff.

      The developerrs also match all the money from the kickstarter themself up to $50000.

  • Everything is a boring clone of some other game. so lacking the ability to raise capital through the usual investment channels this one has decided to fleece the kickstarter crowd.
    • by Draconi ( 38078 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:03PM (#48414715)

      We should mention that this is actually Round #2 with Kickstarter.

      When we didn't reach our first goal, we continued development with our own money (as we had been doing from the inception of the game). As former leads on Ultima Online, we have a solid vision for what we want to bring forward to the gaming world, as well as the sandbox and production experience to make it happen.

      Kickstarter is all about accelerating and enhancing development of our core tech. One nice thing that differentiates us from most Kickstarters that have a bunch of concept art and a pitch is that we have a working game already built. Now it's all about fleshing it out into a full MMO so we're not just recreating a middleware market.

      Shards Online is all about building an amazing sandbox game, and then giving the full content over to players.

      • Good luck with your project. I've been working on something similar for the last four years, minus the customized, player-run servers. I think both projects share the same goal of bringing MMORPGs back to what their roots promised; freedom and infinite possibility. The real key to success I think is to ensure the systems and rules address from the bottom up (fundamentally) what allows a real society to flourish. Most MMOs systems start from high level concepts, resulting in systems that are poorly integrate
      • I played quite a bit of Ultima Online, and when I got tired of playing, I transitioned into running an emulated server and learning how to script. It helped cement my choice to get into game programming.

        The game looks pretty exciting to me and I think I'd be interested in working on it (and noticed that you are hiring programmers), but I'm not super interested in moving to the high cost of living Washington. I've seen studios have opinions on both sides regarding remote work - what's Citadel's?

      • Just how much control is given to the players? Creating our own quest lines and NPCs, etc is kind of obviously intended, but just how far down the rabbit hole can we go?

        Can players define their own weapon/armor stats? What about models?
        Can players modify their rulesets to add, for example, new loot drop tables? How about new crafting professions?

        And, actually a really important question: Is the digital release going to be available without Steam?

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Tuesday November 18, 2014 @11:41PM (#48414863)
    Many people have had this idea before, so it is just the execution that matters.

    If I'm correct, this is Little Big Planet meets MMORPGs on player run servers. This idea generally always starts with,"Imagine if everyone could make their own levels and people could go from server to server with the same character." But then the realization that hackers could do what they want with your player data when you entered the server makes a game designer then go,"Okay, so let everyone design the rules on their own server then since hackers will do it if we don't". The cool part is if you allow monetization of player made Objects which sell in a global store across all servers. The owner of the object created and the game company would split revenue. There's some details about how things could be hacked to spawn free items, but a little thought could quell the hackers on this front.

    The coolest part is that you could have games which are like Skyrim, but there would be live gamemaster(s) there. They could then have you interact with NPCs with live dialogue or do things a computer game alone wouldn't be able to reason. People could be in serious demand of a game where they are playing with a live game master because there might be continual end game after being capped with equipment.

    Between charging for objects people made in Blender and uploaded to the game development team to be put on the market, and people charging for monthly access to their server, the creative minds could make enough for rent on this game. And once creative minds developing new worlds are making revenue, there's no stopping how in depth the games get. This in turn draws more players and developers in too.

    For the past year I've been saying the future of video games is video games with quality map makers like Little Big Planet, but sharing revenue with the creators of the new content.
    • by Orleron ( 835910 )
      Pieces of this exist already, and have for years. The "create your own server" model works great in NWN, but that game is ancient now, and few others have been able to mimic its versatility. Some have tried. The "make and sell your own objects" is pretty vibrant on FPS games like Team Fortress 2 and in sandbox games like Second Life, obviously. As you said, the execution is what matters.

      However, when it comes to execution, I don't even think the game needs to be the latest and greatest as far as graph

  • That you for posting this story! I was unaware of this project.

    The fact that this MMO will have in-world non-instanced Player Housing, ala SWG but even better, PLUS realistic non-restricted skill development are enough for me to get excited about this and invest in it. Being able to run my own server without waiting years for a community emulated one cinches it!

    I would love it if they could eventually also add the capability for relatively unlimited underground adventuring, perhaps in layers? And Digging, a

  • Few hours in the headline and one of the game devs is already modded up to talk about how great his game is.

    Don't take is personal, but last time I checked /. was still about "news that matters". The whole post here stink free advertising.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."