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Author Topic: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?  (Read 4416 times)

Caldenfor

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2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« on: Jul 24, 12, 08:54:17 PM »

I tried to be as specific as I could with the title of this thread. I understand that there are many different ways to create a game and plenty of different ways for the players to view it. Are there any Hero Engine teams working on an MMORPG with a fixed-camera/2.5d perspective?

I feel that the view limitation could be utilized to help bring back the RPG to MMORPG. We can stop trying to fly too high into the sky and look down upon the world of which is so important to the success of a game. It focuses the player's attention to their immediate surroundings allowing developers to be more creative with the way players interact with the world. It removes the need for developers to worry about epic views from every which angle a player could find so it also focuses the developers to the game, not an excessive eye candy world. It would help bring back the potential for an open world that feels large, but isn't overly expansive for the sake of massive mountains. I feel it could also potentially enhance the performance of game worlds as less would have to be loaded/rendered at one time resulting in lower load times(clearly not a tech man, but I think it has a positive impact).

I would appreciate any discussion/thought on the matter, but I believe that in today's offerings it has untapped potential and could enhance the quality of an MMORPG as the developers can spend less time/money on excessive worlds and focus on creating quality gameplay central to the player and their surroundings.
« Last Edit: Jul 24, 12, 08:58:58 PM by Caldenfor »
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HE-Cooper

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 24, 12, 09:01:36 PM »

It can be more time consuming and more complicated to make isometric assets than 3d assets, and the same goes for world building. It takes far more art style and direction to pull off a modern looking isometric game than a 3d game where world building, lighting and immersion can overcome stylistic inadequacies.

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Caldenfor

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 24, 12, 09:13:45 PM »

I only put 2.5d on their to encompass it into the discussion. I myself would prefer 3d everything, but fixed-camera view of the game world.

Allowing free camera view forces the developers, in my mind, to have to worry about so much more than they would otherwise.

Creating the 3d world for the fixed-camera game would also pose some design dilemmas as well. Determining the proper scale would be critical to the flow of the landscape as well as how all the assets fit within it.

I am waiting to hear back from support about "migrated server" issue so until then I am a forum dweller. Hoping to find like minded folks as well I suppose.
« Last Edit: Jul 24, 12, 09:15:18 PM by Caldenfor »
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Trixer

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #3 on: Sep 20, 12, 10:00:59 AM »

You bring valid points to the table, but I bring food...

Players for the most part hate fixed cameras... I demoed one on my version of hero cloud... had three people log in and they hated it.......

Isometric games (Diablo series) are much harder to do then one would think, its not about just putting a "fixed" camera in and then building the world around that....

When you start to try and put these things into practice you notice very rapidly that there is more to it then meets the eye.

When I first started in game design, I was like surely this is easier.. even more so because I absolutely hate doing camera programing.. all the lerp (and herp he derp), to get clean cameras is very annoying...

However there is far more then what you think when implementing a system like this.

Have you tried it yet?
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Caldenfor

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #4 on: Sep 23, 12, 11:05:58 PM »

You bring valid points to the table, but I bring food...

Players for the most part hate fixed cameras... I demoed one on my version of hero cloud... had three people log in and they hated it.......

Isometric games (Diablo series) are much harder to do then one would think, its not about just putting a "fixed" camera in and then building the world around that....

When you start to try and put these things into practice you notice very rapidly that there is more to it then meets the eye.

When I first started in game design, I was like surely this is easier.. even more so because I absolutely hate doing camera programing.. all the lerp (and herp he derp), to get clean cameras is very annoying...

However there is far more then what you think when implementing a system like this.

Have you tried it yet?

The camera being fixed was not decided upon to "make the game easier" to create, but my belief is that it has the potential to ease development while also providing a better game experience for the players.

What I hope for it to do is to:
  • Eliminate imbalance of spatial awareness. What you see in your screen is what anyone else would see on the same screen(outside of stealth/invisibility). With a free-camera players are always going to be missing out on at least 180 of the area around them due to not having eyes in the back of their head. This also limits the viewing range which helps focus the player and the developer attention on to what is important, the player and the world around them, not the world five miles away.
  • The most important reason for it is for returning MMORPGs to actually being an RPG that is MMO. The fixed camera allows for an ease of interaction between players in the same viewing area. Local chat, where the majority of communication shall be done, will be displayed above the character that typed it. Being able to put a face to the words spoken, in this case an avatar, allows for a stronger connection with others and an improved sense of self. It also provides a better opportunity for organized activities, namely roleplaying, where organizers are more capable of controlling the environment that players will use to participate in the activities without having to worry about where the participants have their camera focused.
  • Better performance. With a limited viewing area I believe that it would allow for lower hardware requirements and improve gameplay performance for those without current generation equipment.

These are not facts, but I believe I am not too far off with the reasoning and the potential.

What exactly are the primary differences in art/design affected by the camera being fixed? It will be an open world that won't have billboarded walls of "you must go this way" trees. It will be similar to Ultima Online's construction and the biggest obstacle that I can see is making sure that the design of the world ensures that all entryways/items of interest are accessible from the provided viewing angle.
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Trixer

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #5 on: Sep 25, 12, 10:32:15 AM »

I wish you tons of luck with your idea. You have good points but I feel like maybe some game design books would help you out.


Over all if a player wanted to play like this I think we would see many more games like this.... Players love to pan around their characters and see how they look (even more so girls).

I think maybe you also need to look up rpg and see that it's camera has nothing to do with RPGs... You are regressing instead of progressing.  You build your camera and I could argue that your taking away  from the original mmos because its not text based (MUDs).

Also one more time..... An iso camera eases nothing!! Its harder to properly Impliment then a 3d cam and further more if you lock the camera... It's just past frustrating.  It requires a t least 30% more design and dev time to create a world like this that payers are not going to just log out of. These games came as a natural step forward from MUDs.... They were not easy to make and in the industry only a hand full of Iso experts even exist any more.

Do you understand the mathematics of isometric? Have you talked to any people that can make isometric assets?
If you think you can just fix the camera to a specific way and then just build your world you are so sadly mistaken. Assets have to be built special ways based on where they are viewed from and all this jazz.... ALOT goes into it...ISO metric viewing came from not having 3D and was a royal pain.... Had tech and resources for 3D been around... I feel like we wouldnt have even had ISO games. I strongly urge you to review the isometric projection Wikipedia page.

There is a reason that rpgs went text>iso>3d

Did you play ultima during its peek? Ohh castle siege... Have a billion chat bubbles... Yeah shut chat bubbles off...

Thinking players are going to interact or do anything better by limiting them is kind of worth a couple chuckles to me.


As someone who was very hands on with the whole RO free server movement. I learned a lot about ISO by dissecting their game.... I feel RO pulled this style off the best and what seemd to be with decent ease compared.
« Last Edit: Sep 25, 12, 10:34:47 AM by Trixer »
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FI-ScottZ

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #6 on: Sep 25, 12, 01:17:14 PM »

Quote
Players for the most part hate fixed cameras
That's an overly broad statement.  As you mentioned Diablo in the next sentence, that is obviously very popular, not to mention every RTS uses isometric as well.  There will plenty of players if you make a great game.  Three players hating your demo is not a real good metric.

Nor is iso by any means out-dated tech, as it is still used in Diablo 3.  It is simply another way to present the game; 3D has not supplanted it anymore than it has 2D.

It may well be very difficult, but it is Caldenfor's prerogative if he wants to tackle it.  He was simply polling to see if anyone had tried it and could offer help.  Your post read as a little snarky; if iso doesn't interest you or frustrates you, simply ignore this thread.
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Caldenfor

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #7 on: Sep 25, 12, 02:01:00 PM »

I wish you tons of luck with your idea. You have good points but I feel like maybe some game design books would help you out.


Over all if a player wanted to play like this I think we would see many more games like this.... Players love to pan around their characters and see how they look (even more so girls).

The camera is fixed to the character at a certain angle, but the character can turn allowing for full viewing of each side of the character. 360 degrees, but at the camera's angle of view.

I think maybe you also need to look up rpg and see that it's camera has nothing to do with RPGs... You are regressing instead of progressing.  You build your camera and I could argue that your taking away  from the original mmos because its not text based (MUDs).

An RPG is not determined by the camera, I fully understand that, but the camera perspective aims to provide a better atmosphere for roleplaying. Rather than being in an enormous world it shows you as if you are in a single room, the viewing area, which allows for more control of the participants by the GMs/DMs/etc

Also one more time..... An iso camera eases nothing!! Its harder to properly Impliment then a 3d cam and further more if you lock the camera... It's just past frustrating.  It requires a t least 30% more design and dev time to create a world like this that payers are not going to just log out of. These games came as a natural step forward from MUDs.... They were not easy to make and in the industry only a hand full of Iso experts even exist any more.

It wouldn't be isometric. This would be a 3d world with 3d characters using a fixed camera perspective.

Do you understand the mathematics of isometric? Have you talked to any people that can make isometric assets?
If you think you can just fix the camera to a specific way and then just build your world you are so sadly mistaken. Assets have to be built special ways based on where they are viewed from and all this jazz.... ALOT goes into it...ISO metric viewing came from not having 3D and was a royal pain.... Had tech and resources for 3D been around... I feel like we wouldnt have even had ISO games. I strongly urge you to review the isometric projection Wikipedia page.

As noted above, it will not be isometric, it will be full 3d with fixed camera. If 3d assets need to be created differently due to the fixed camera perspective of the 3d world I would like to know what adjustments would be required. World design would need to take into account the fixed perspective, but I am not sure how it affects assets, if at all.

There is a reason that rpgs went text>iso>3d

Did you play ultima during its peek? Ohh castle siege... Have a billion chat bubbles... Yeah shut chat bubbles off...

Ultima Online or something else? I only played Ultima Online. You can play without chat bubbles if you wish and use a standard chat box. Text length for chat will have limits to ease the use of chat bubbles so be prepared to use multiple chat entries for long speeches.

Thinking players are going to interact or do anything better by limiting them is kind of worth a couple chuckles to me.


As someone who was very hands on with the whole RO free server movement. I learned a lot about ISO by dissecting their game.... I feel RO pulled this style off the best and what seemd to be with decent ease compared.

Important to note that I may have included Isometric at the top to inquire about teams working with one I have no intention of doing so with my concept. The world will be 3d and the assets within it will be 3d except where it wouldn't be required of course. Would this still be considered "Isometric"? Perhaps, but the intent was to use 3d assets.

An aspect I failed to mention is that the camera would also assist with how players experience the size of the world. The speed of travel and land size are still very important, but with the camera perspective I believe it provides more freedom to the developers to provide a large world without it feeling overly large and empty.
« Last Edit: Sep 25, 12, 02:09:10 PM by Caldenfor »
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Trixer

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 26, 12, 08:46:22 AM »

My apologies,

I wrote my rather brash statement above during a time of frustration. Where as I stand by most of what I said, I think it could have been given to you in a nicer package.. and I suppose players dont truely hate iso if its done correctly, but it will cause a shit ton of frustration if its not done correctly... Diablo has people who really know how to do it.... If you dont have experienced iso people I feel like it can just be bad...

<not relevant rant>

Also, Most RTS games are NOT iso cameras, They are just 3d games with tilted cameras... please understand there is a big difference in prospective.  Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 do not use the same camera.

However, I will offer you some advice and specific guidance sense,  I was a douche.

An Iso projection is tilted so that all three axes create equal angles at intervals of 120 degrees. Sense pixels are square you have to do a 2:1 pixel ratio as well.  The important thing to note here is there is no way to achieve this kind of tilt, through just the camera, your world has to be tilted as you go... remember those little games that where like a wooden box, and had nobs on two sides and you would turn the nobs to guide the ball through a maze? Exactly..

Im not trying to discourage you, but what I am trying to explain is that there has been literally generations of experience that has been gathered by these badass isometric games. They have already made the mistakes on their first games (a shit ton of them are apparent in diablo 1 for instance)....

Unless you have really played a lot of isometric games and can see these mistakes, I would tread very carefully, games are really really hard to make already... ISO games require a lot of experience and dedication to get perfect... so players are not frustrated with them and the worst part is that these things do not become apparent until your pretty far along in your project :(.

Anything can be fun if the team and designers love it enough to make it that way... but tread carefully,  I feel like in gaming today, Iso games are more for single player experiences, and not for mmos. As you pointed out story telling with them is great... but an mmo could be a little intense.

</not relevant rant>

OK, I'm off my soap box lets talk about your questions:

A fixed camera prospective shouldn't change your world building to much. The biggest thing you have to think about is scale.. You want to remain close enough to the player but far enough away from buildings so that at least the camera wont get stuck on them.

The thought of this is a little weird at first, but generally you want to scale your buildings a bit smaller then you normally would, but this just depends on your camera distance.

I feel like your first step would be to get your camera the way you want it (look at the advanced camera tutorial on the wiki to understand how to start changing the camera) and then move into getting a few free assets in to start playing with your scale

The next thing to think about is how to handle the camera if players walk inside of a building or something like that.



« Last Edit: Sep 26, 12, 08:48:33 AM by Trixer »
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Caldenfor

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #9 on: Sep 26, 12, 09:03:30 AM »

Or in front of trees/any asset, yep.

I understand scale, easily pointed out with trees, is going to be an issue and scale will have to be determined early on and it is best to do once the camera distance/angle is established. Which side of structures doors/etc are on also play into things. I just wasn't sure if there was some significant altercations that had to be made to assets since it will have a fixed camera.

I am not a roleplayer, but I understand how the fixed camera can benefit the RPG experience. If I were doing a less RP focused game I would probably aim for a smaller world with a free camera view. The desire for a "large open world" is one factor that I find easier to tackle with the fixed-camera perspective rather than the free-camera. Content and size/scale wise.

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Trixer

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #10 on: Sep 26, 12, 05:38:52 PM »

Planning how your assets will be created is most likely your first step. While fighting with support to reset my world (which they are standing pretty firm on not doing haha) I have reflected on what you need to think about when implementing this system... here are my thoughts...


Bare bones fixed perspective camera:


1.) Buildings will need to be built with their roofs as separate objects.

2.) Scale will be important, most likely your character will need to be "bigger" then normal in order to not look "dwarfed" by buildings or other things in the scene

3.) Raycasting from the camera to the character will need to be a must, if only for changing the transparency of anything that exists between the character and the camera (which is why we build our buildings and roofs for them separate)

4.) Click to move, will need to be the best movement way, wasd will get confusing if the camera is oriented any place but directly behind the character, or careful camera and movement design will need to be in place to make movement not drive the player crazy using wasd.

5.) I also feel like rather robust code to have the camera adjust correctly based on where the player is standing
will be more then required to maintain a usable fixed view. I feel like just having the camera "LookAt" the player object will be a disaster waiting to happen.


Also, you might be able to take extreme advantage of the "room" system instead of building your buildings with out roofs, but I don't know a lot about the room system. I think however you could use it to render only the inside of the room and not anything else?



Also again, my apologies for my snarky comments...  It was not intended to come across that way, I frustrated at something else. You have valid questions and they should have been answered in a much kinder wrapper!

« Last Edit: Sep 26, 12, 05:41:42 PM by Trixer »
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Caldenfor

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Re: 2.5d/Fixed-Camera 3d MMORPG, any teams working on one?
« Reply #11 on: Sep 26, 12, 10:50:49 PM »

Planning how your assets will be created is most likely your first step. While fighting with support to reset my world (which they are standing pretty firm on not doing haha) I have reflected on what you need to think about when implementing this system... here are my thoughts...


Bare bones fixed perspective camera:


1.) Buildings will need to be built with their roofs as separate objects.

Yes. I figure anything one story or higher that players could walk in/under would need to be constructed in sections unless they are by design not supposed to be able to view under(very rare use if ever).

2.) Scale will be important, most likely your character will need to be "bigger" then normal in order to not look "dwarfed" by buildings or other things in the scene

I noticed this already just running around my refugee island and the camera isn't even zoomed out as far as I would like.

3.) Raycasting from the camera to the character will need to be a must, if only for changing the transparency of anything that exists between the character and the camera (which is why we build our buildings and roofs for them separate)

Like Ultima Online, I would think an "area of transparency" that is circular around the player would be a necessary option, but not something on all the time. The fact that it can take away from people using objects as cover from view is a negative, but the positives far outweigh it in my mind, especially as names can be viewed by using "show all names" that shows the each name above everything on screen.

4.) Click to move, will need to be the best movement way, wasd will get confusing if the camera is oriented any place but directly behind the character, or careful camera and movement design will need to be in place to make movement not drive the player crazy using wasd.

This is something I will seek guidance on by those much more experienced than I. Aspects like this I was hoping programmers may find challenging/fun to work out, to a degree.

5.) I also feel like rather robust code to have the camera adjust correctly based on where the player is standing
will be more then required to maintain a usable fixed view. I feel like just having the camera "LookAt" the player object will be a disaster waiting to happen.


Also, you might be able to take extreme advantage of the "room" system instead of building your buildings with out roofs, but I don't know a lot about the room system. I think however you could use it to render only the inside of the room and not anything else?

Without roofs isn't necessarily a bad idea. Potential to use "building blocks" to create structures and just have the finalized versions combined into one solid model? If the building blocks/tiles aspect is possible it may lead to the possibility of customized housing in the future, much like UO added after a long period of time. Certainly not a priority, but it would be cool to have it as a possibility down the line.


Also again, my apologies for my snarky comments...  It was not intended to come across that way, I frustrated at something else. You have valid questions and they should have been answered in a much kinder wrapper!

No worries, hopefully you were able to get your issue taken care of. I just wanted to emphasize that it wasn't going to be isometric, but 3d.
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