Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
User Journal

Journal Journal: MMORPG a different approach

This is just a place for me to note down some ideas I have about the kind of MMORPG I want to play. I have been writing comments and now want to try to collect the ideas I seen and thought of in one place. This is just a short note and a bit rambling so if you read this don't take it as an attempt to design the ultimate MMORPG. Yet.
  • The end of direct control

    There seems to be a move towards more twitch. Gamers are using macro's to fight enemies so we force them to twitch to grind their XP. Eh, no. If players can come up with 1 macro to fight all your enemies then there is something wrong with your enemies. Create better AI and more diverse fighting styles. Current twitch reasoning seems to follow advertisers reasoning. People are going to the toilet during the ads. Make ads longer so people will still get ads when they return from the toilet.

    I am proposin a system closer to that found in games like Jagged Alliance. Your avatar in real time will find her way to the clicked destination based on skills, stance settings, enviroment and enemy presence. Leap/climb, sneak/run etc etc.

    Direct control has problems:

    1. High bandwidth, every twitch has to be send to the server and all the clients in the same area.
    2. Low predictability in low bandwidth enviroments.
    3. Bad animation match up. If I hit you with my sword and you block that is just statistics. The changes of the animation involved reflecting the numbers is zero. Because your position and mine ain't fixed on a grid the animator can't line them up.
    4. Low enviroment interaction. Check the animation for leaping over a fence in Jagged Alliance vs ANY free 3D game. Tomb Raider can only pull the really nice moves when the animator knows where she is going to be. How many MMORPGS with melee combat have anything like the melee combat we so love in Martial Arts movies? Leaping over the heads of enemies? Let alone actuall wrestling. Not even Oni style body on body interaction is possible.
    5. Low interaction between player and game. Because you have to control every twitch of your avatar you can't chat or control other elements of your game.
    6. Low strategic awareness. You can't look behind your avatar.
    7. Some stats don't make sense. Intelligence. If your avatar is not in some control then their intelligence is never tested. Intelligence would allow an avatar to determine how save a move is. Low intellgence avatars would make more stupid moves. Effects as fear become far more realistic.
    8. Easier to deal with connection losses. Your avatar would keep fighting according to your preset orders.

    There are offcourse disadvantages as well. The most obvious is the need for really good AI. Enemy AI is meant to be defeated. If they pull an amazing stupid move then that is okay. They are meant to die. It would be far less fun if your own AI avatar blows themselves up.

    Another problem is that by definition twitch has a more instant appeal. The only reason to go for less direct control is to increase the weight of tactics and that means a steeper learning curve.

    MMORPG's on the other hand are supposed to have long lasting appeal. My belief is that a strong tactical element lasts longer. Proof? The lifespan of Counter Strike vs Quake.

    • Adjusting world areas

      A MMORPG needs to be massive. A true RPG that allows you play a wide range of roles needs to have a truly gigantic space in wich the players move. To be a lone scout you need an area that is truly remote. To be a trader you need to have multiple areas worthy to trade between.

      To create this you would need to create several areas. At start of the game some of them will designated as developed and some as undeveloped. Developed areas are were the player starts live, these areas are well patrolled. Undeveloped areas are barren and extremely dangerous. Other areas are in between. As the game develops some developed areas will become more popular this can be offset by increasing taxation. In response some underdeveloped areas will further develop.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Tell Congress/WIPO: No B'cast Treaty Without Representation

Please read the alert here. The Broadcast Flag is back, this time as a WIPO treaty, and if you don't speak up, it'll be decided by bureaucrats without any democratic input at all.

The alert provides a web form to write to your congress person. Please do that. And please put the alert up elsewhere, so that other people can help too.

I'm in Washington DC working on this today, and your support will help.



User Journal

Journal Journal: Thanks, rodgster 2

Slashdot user rodgster sent me 1000 slashdot subscription pages because he likes my comments. Thanks, rodgster!
User Journal

Journal Journal: is back 13

Some of you may remember my technology policy / technology news site The site is reactivated. It's intended to be a more mature, and hopefully more relevant, forum than Slashdot. No ACs, a special focus on technology policy and high technology outside of the conventional corporate model, but conventional tech news as well.

I'd really appreciate it if you'd create a login on the site and submit articles. Especially original work, which hasn't always been well recieved on Slashdot - they seem to prefer linking to other people's coverage. RDF and RSS are available at and, so you can keep track of articles from elsewhere.


User Journal

Journal Journal: My Employer is hiring developers

Considering how many posts I have seen about the bad prospects for employment in software development, and the fact that my employer is not receiving any response to its job postings, I thought I should post the job here. I have checked with HR and they approve of this posting. Contact person is Joellen Brennan (email:

Sun Nuclear Corporation Job Posting

Full Time Position Salary: Competitive with Market

This position requires at least an AS in Computer Science or equivalent (BS degree preferred) and a minimum of 2 years work experience in C++ Windows programming

Available Position: Software Developer


Sun Nuclear Corporation seeks a C++ software developer to create and maintain Windows applications for new and existing products. This is a full-time position with competitive salary and full benefits.

Successful applicant will
        Develop Windows object-oriented application software that communicates with embedded software via serial, USB, and Ethernet links.
        Design, document, debug, and test new product software as well as support existing software.
        Work closely with product managers, physicists, and hardware engineers and will provide occasional customer telephone support.
        Good written and oral communication skills are necessary, and good math skills are a plus.
The ability to complete individual projects with minimal supervision as well as an ability to work well with a team are essential.

The following additional experience is desired:
        Borland C++ Builder
        Programming semi real time Windows PC applications
        Windows PC interfacing to embedded systems
        Serial, USB, and Ethernet hardware communications experience
        Small database applications
        Use of defect tracking tools
        Use of Configuration Management Tools
        Unit testing
        Knowledge or experience with ionizing radiation

Sun Nuclear Corporation, located in Melbourne Florida, designs and manufactures radiation measurement equipment used for quality assurance in oncology and nuclear medicine. Sun Nuclear designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of embedded, PDA, and PC applications to support its products, as well as manufacturing and testing applications. For more information, see our web site at Sun Nuclear Corporation is an equal opportunity employer.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Signature limits

Today I tried posting with a signature. I tried using a signature which was under 120 characters, as stipulated, but containing about 55 carriage returns. The carriage returns did not appear, which was half what I expected, but what surprised me was that the sig on posts which had already been posted would change when I updated my sig in my preferences. In other words, unlike USENET, I can change my sig after the fact.

Not that I ever use a sig. I just wanted to see what would happen. I mainly wanted to see how hard the McQuary-like limit on /. sigs actually was. If you haven't heard of the McQuary Limit, see Of course, that is a 320 character limit, but hey, Taco's house, Taco's rules.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Have you passed through the nerd filter? 4

There is a "nerd filter" that people like me tend to pass through without realizing. On the other side of this filter, we are very likely to meet people we know, and in general people like us.

My most recent episode was at the 9000 foot visitor station on Mauna Kea. The folks there said that I shouldn't attempt to drive up to the telescopes without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. So, I went in the parking lot and accosted occupants of the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle that came by. The driver of said vehicle had seen me lecture in San Francisco. I got my ride.

Just by standing at that 9000 foot visitor station, I'd passed through the nerd filter.

Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to come upon a local radio club's ham radio field day operation while hiking in the woods with my wife. An co-worker from 10 years ago walked up. It turned out he'd just gotten his ham license.

This stuff happens all of the time. Of course it helps that I am somewhat recognizable in tech circles, so people who know of me tend to walk up, but on the other hand I am not that well known.

What are your experiences beyond the nerd filter?


User Journal

Journal Journal: No one liked my neutron story.

I posted a story about my old days working on FUZZY I on a thread about the Sandia Z machine. I thought the story was good, and on subject (at least as much as some other posts), yet I received no moderation. Did the moderators not believe the story, or did no one actually notice it? Maybe I'm just a poor writer.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bruce Perens on NPR's Talk of The Nation: Science Friday 4

On Friday January 17, Bruce Perens will be interviewed on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation: Science Friday", with host Ira Flatow. The subject will be the philosophy and business of Open Source software. The interview will take place between 2:20 P.M. and 3:00 EST, that's 11:20 to 12:00 PST. Find your local radio station here . For general information on the program, see the Science Friday site .

Slashdot Top Deals

A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley