[MUD-Dev] RTS aspects in MUDs (LONG)

Dave Kennerly Dave at Nexon.com
Sat Dec 1 22:43:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


lhulbert at hotmail.com wrote:

> I think that RTS aspects in a MUD are the next step.

Here's some reference material.  Even if you are planning just a few
RTS aspects, studying games with many RTS aspects is useful to see
an exaggeration of what you intend for a MUD.

  10six.com http://www.10six.com/
  Fighting Legends http://www.mcszone.com/
  Shattered Galaxy http://www.sgalaxy.com
  Sovereign http://sovereign.station.sony.com/index.jsp
  StarPeace http://www.starpeace.net/

Anyone recognize an MMORTS at MPOGD?

  http://www.mpogd.com/games/strategy/index.asp

Some fan discussion 

  http://mmo.gameznet.com/rts/

Will someone on the list who has played some MMORTS's comment in depth?

I can speak a little about Shattered Galaxy, only.  I didn't work on
Shattered Galaxy, but we work in the same office.  I picked up most
of the following by osmosis from the US developers and operators:
Kevin Saunders, David Wei, and Terence Park.

Shattered Galaxy agrees with most of your assessment of Pros (the
audience pro is questionable, although Nexon believed the market was
there), but suffered none of the Cons you listed.  All of them are
standard problems for any RTS.  Some of them were more like a Pro
for MMO than a Con.  For example, MMO Unit Building allows many more
options than a game with on a modest multiplayer platform.

> If you give an order to 10 soldiers, and 5 of them are PCs,

Shattered Galaxy gave the players about 6-20 troops each to control.

A few cons of a "MMO" platform + "RTS" gameplay for Shattered Galaxy
were:

  1. PvP game balance. If the advancement schedule is too frequent,
  then new players are drastically limited in whom they will have
  fun playing with.  If the advancement schedule is too infrequent
  it's boring.  Unfortunately, I suspect the minimum rewarding
  schedule is higher than the maximum lifespan schedule.  If my
  guess were right, it means there is no sustainable advancement
  schedule.  This week Shattered Galaxy is applying an attempted
  solution to this problem.

  2. Cooperation and community building.  All MMOs need communities,
  but in the case of RTS, lack of cooperation means the basic
  scenario is frustrating.

  3. Client hacking.  I've read here and elsewhere the ultimate way
  to stop all client hacking, but to balance fast-feedback, other
  solutions were programmed, which leaves some vulnerability.
  Depending on the RTS and internet requirements this could be
  mitigated.  But for the RTS style that's popular now, a lot of
  computing has to be done in the client.

There's a post mortem of Tactical Commanders in Game Developer
Korea, but I can barely read simple Korean words.

I'd personally enjoy playtesting in a MUD with RTS elements.  I used
to think it would be cool to have a MMO that allowed play on the
strategic _and_ tactical level (like Archon but more simulational),
in similar ways that you're discussing.  In politically primitive
ways, MMO guilds do a few of the RTS-like activities, such as
resource gathering.

Dave


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