At any time, when you look through the various developer forums, particularly the “networking” sections you will find posts by people asking something along the lines of “how do I make an MMO?”. And you will always find the same replies. In short “It cannot be done”.
And those replies are, of course, correct. It cannot be done. Unless you have very solid funding, a good plan, in depth knowledge and a lot of time. The people asking are always “indie dev” types and, naturally, don’t have any of the above. End of story. Or is it?
MMOs are a very special type of beast. The complexity of the involved game systems, the networking and persistence aspects, the infrastructure and resources required to operate one (should it ever get finished) and particularly the inherent content churn make the the easily most ambitious type of game project imaginable.
Content and Assets: players of a “typical” MMO chew up enormous amounts of content. This comes in various forms. Game world lore, story and quest lines, character progression, plain populated space (the game world, be it divided into “zones” or “sectors” or just one huge hunk ). All this needs to be invented, created, assembled, modeled, rigged, textured. Then there’s graphical and sound effects, ambient music, you name it. All this ideally follows a global plan so that it has a unified, unique and polished look&feel.
For “independent” type developers, or even hobbyists, I believe it really is impossible to create this type of game. I’ve been involved in a project that got pretty close and still failed in the end. Been there done that. So what is the point of this website and the “Lost Realm Of Anoria” project I hear you ask?
Well, I know all of the above. I don’t expect to be able to make a massive multiplayer online game. But, at some point during that never ending summer in 2018, I had the idea of challenging myself: “Lets see how far I can get, alone (!), with just creating a very basic game systems framework for the type of mmo that I like to play (think EverQuest of WoW)”. I know I can’t (even if I try and assemble a small “indie” type team of dedicated and talented amateurs) create a commercially viable, full product. I don’t have the resources, time or money for that. But, I should be able (harnessing the incredible power of one of the fantastic game engines available, for free (!)) to create a playable prototype, implementing the basic game play features and using freely available assets. I won’t be able to sell this (in this form) but if I manage to create something I like to play myself, I will consider it a success”.
Well, half a year of spending almost my entire “hobby time budget” on this labor of love later, my baby is finally at a state where it can be shown to the world, without being too embarrassed about it. It is not very pretty, but most of the features I set out to create are there. It will still need a lot of work until it can be considered a real game but, hey, I am doing this for fun. We’ll see what happens next.