[MUD-Dev] MMORPG: where to start for making and running a game

Michael Sellers mike at onlinealchemy.com
Wed Oct 15 18:53:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Richard Brown wrote:

> I am not sure if I am off topic since I am looking for information
> rather than expressing opinions. But I am ready to hear you
> opinions so I am going to post it.

> ...

> I have recently met with two of my high school friends, whom I had
> not been in contact for 15 years.  One of them has been doing very
> well in real estate (money and business). The other is an art
> school graduate and has been in textile industries (art design). I
> am a SA/DBA have spent 20 years in "mission critical" data centers
> (systems and operations).

> We know very little about MMORPG but believe it or not we decided
> to do one. I am the one supposed to "get it started".

Hello Richard,

It occurs to me that while there's a lot of information online and
in books about creating and running MMOGs, there may not be a single
place to go for this.  So I'm wondering: what info should someone
contemplating jumping into this field have?

The first thing that came to mind was that you should read and
thoroughly understand Gordon Walton's presentation on "Ten Reasons
You Don't Want to Run a Massively Multiplayer Game" (available at
http://www.gamespy.com/gdc2003/top10mmog/).  IMO, you should have
iron-clad reasons for why each of his points doesn't apply to you,
or you should really re-think this endeavor.

At the risk of a self-plug, I'd also strongly suggest books like
"Secrets of the Game Business" (edited by Francois Laramee, lots of
good stuff in there), "Under Pressure and On Time" edited by Ed
Sullivan, and "The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing" by Silverman.

What other resources would people suggest?  I'm thinking not so much
history or theory as nuts-and-bolts articles, presentations, etc.
The kind of thing that would help answer Richard's questions.

> So, we are going to need: a story line or a persistent and
> evolving game universe; a game design that will get players
> addicted; lots of dazzling 3D stuff; reasonably reliable and not
> too buggy codes; scalable and OK-lagging platforms; and hundreds
> or thousands free testers; ... etc. There is just too much to
> happen.

All that and more, plus somewhere between $1M and $10M, and 18-40
months.  The $1M/18months is if you really, really know what you're
doing and can develop a focused product from a stable design.

> Now the question: what am I going to do with my rich friend's
> money in the next six month? What should I buy, who should I hire,
> what do I tell them to do, and the most important: what should we
> try to accomplish?

Take a look at some of the sources above, especially I think the
"Secrets of the Game Business" book.  It will answer a lot of your
questions at least for the first go-round.  In a few words though,
I'd say you want to put together a design, a team, and a playable
(if primitive) prototype.  That'd be quite a stretch in six months,
maybe more doable in a year.

Good luck!  This is a bizarre, fascinating, bone-grindingly
frustrating and exhilirating field.

Mike Sellers
Online Alchemy
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