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The One Man MMO Project
The story of a lone developer's quest to build an online world :: MMO programming, design, and industry commentary
Missives from the Šther
By Robert Basler on 2014-08-07 20:11:24
Homepage: onemanmmo.com email:one at onemanmmo dot com

I get occasional questions via email, I thought I would share some of those questions and the answers here. Anything here is just my current thoughts, game development is adaptive, so don't be surprised if things are different in the game. Thanks to those who sent me these great questions. Keep them coming.

You mention on mmorts.com that units and buildings disappear after 30 seconds. How do you handle situations where, say, an opponent of mine logs off and I build a whole bunch of cheap buildings where their buildings were? What would happen when they log back on and the spaces their buildings occupied are now blocked?

While I haven't implemented this yet, the plan is to allow the player to either quickly rebuild their bases at new locations, or if their previous locations are unoccupied, to place buildings where they were.

This seems like something that could potentially be exploited. At least if the player has control over where they can rebuild their base. Say if I wanted to move from location A to location B because B gives me an advantage in some way (perhaps a better position to siege an enemy base), I could ask a friend/ally to build walls where my old base was after I log out and then rebuild my base in the more advantageous location. How will you account for this?

The friend would need to build a whole base where the old one was, since buildings (which includes walls) can only be built so far from another building you own. Or you could do this yourself, adding a second base in a better location. This sort of thing comes down to "can you afford to do that?" Logging out mid-battle is dangerous as your units are left on the battlefield, helpless, for 30 seconds.

How big a role is fog of war going to play in this game? Are units going to each lift a large amount of fog, or would there be units like in SupCom and RUSE where they filled a specific scouting role? Will there even be fog of war at all? I ask this because fog of war in this type of game can allow for some very interesting play. Consider, if I post forward scouts quite some distance from my base, I can have forewarning about enemy attacks. But if they dispatch a few troops to take them out, I'd have a blind spot they could bring troops through and hide their numbers.

Each unit has a visibility range that effects the fog of war. Some units can see farther than others. I don't have any sort of actual fog to indicate where things are visible/invisible at this time. That's something I'll have to think about. I also have plans to implement a shroud.

You implement units based on building them out of components. How far are you taking this? Will there be more units than tanks? Will there be components beyond just chassis/weapon to things like weapon attachments, engines, supplemental armor, ammo type, etc? Will the buildings themselves be customizable like this or just the units?

Every entity in the game is built using components: buildings, tanks etc. Initially I only have ground units, but air units are just some bugfixing away. No water oceans on Miranda, so no naval units at this time, but I have this idea about mercury seas... Right now there are 6 component types (Chassis, power plant, shield/armor, weapon, secondary weapon, sensors) in each unit. There are also augment components that improve the stats of other components. Each component is just a big ball of statistics, so components can effect every attribute of a unit. There's an old screenshot of the unit design screen here. That all is going to get a big overhaul before alpha. Some of the ideas I had for weapons/shields didn't work out but I've got it figured now.

Speaking of attacking other players, what are your plans to handle newer players starting out against larger, more powerful players? Giving new players a grace period where they cannot be attacked is usually standard. But usually this period is only long enough for players to get a handle on the game, and not necessarily to a point where they can defend themselves against a player who has dominated the region.

Where most games have a steep power curve where a level 50 player can one-hit-kill a level 1 player, my plan is to have a much flatter curve so that more experienced players will have more options in how to play, but on a unit-to-unit basis they won't be that much more "powerful" in the absolute sense than a new player. Also, if a new player gets beat, the rewards they get when they lose a unit are based on the level difference, so it may end up being the case that groups of newer players will attack more established players just for the prizes.

I have no plans for a grace period. The idea for players is to build a base fast, maybe lose it fast, get some loot and move on.

Also, resources. How are they going to be handled? Are they C&C style where you collect them from the environment (those red patches on the ground perhaps) or SupCom style flux economy? Will there be only one type of resource, or multiple?

The red patches are actually flowers - the sole remaining form of life in the wasteland (they look much better now.) Yes, the plan is for harvesters and one, possibly two types of resources. I haven't played Supreme Commander extensively, so my understanding of what you asked is based just on this but I'd say no to the Flux economy. I would like to have silos to store resources (so spies can steal them) and power plants to operate buildings (so you can destroy a power plant to shut down turrets.) Right now I think that resources will be used to buy unit components from vendors, although if I do that, I lose the run-out-of-money-in-the-middle-of-a-battle mechanic which I like. The economy is something I'm still working out.

Is Steam a platform you'd like to release on someday? (just a steam fan, nothing else..)

Ideally I'd like Miranda to be on Steam.

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