Tag Archive for journey

Fantasy Fantasy MMO

If I were to set about trying to build yet another fantasy MMORPG, here is what I would do…

I’d start with EVE Online.  There are many reasons for this, the first being that I don’t mind having zones.  Lots of people will tell you that you have to have a giant seamless world, but I always ask them “What seamless worlds are you playing in?”  They always say World of Warcraft.  But they are only half right.  Yes, you can run from one end of a continent to the other without zoning.  You can fly on a griffin or other travel beast and cross no zone lines.  But how do you play the game?  Most people are in instances, dungeons and battlegrounds, and crossing from one continent to another makes you zone.  Warcraft has seams, they’ve just gone a long way to hide them from you.  EVE does too, but thankfully for them their Sci-Fi setting makes it easy to throw up gates and wormholes and faster than light travel and hide them in plain sight.  In my fantasy world, I’d have large sprawling zones.  Some zones would be city zones where a large city rests at the center and is surrounded by farmland and sparse wilderness.  Some zones would be town zones where it is mostly wilderness with a sprinkling of small villages and towns, two to five per zone, just a small cluster of buildings or an inn at a cross roads.  And some zones would be full on wilderness with caves and dungeons and evil.

Players would be able to own and run the small villages and towns, possibly even city blocks in the large cities (but not the whole city – the advantage of controlling part of a city would be in the nearness of so many other people, the disadvantage would be that you have to share the city – think of cities as being the trade hubs of the game).

When you want to leave a zone, you would go to a “crossroads”, of which there might be several on each zone at the edges.  From the crossroads you would use the signpost and it would tell you which zones you could get to from here.  Players would be allowed to choose if their journey was “safe” or “unsafe”.  A “safe” journey would simply zone you directly to your destination.  An “unsafe” journey would randomly generate an adventure zone with one or more encounters that you would need to cross.  These unsafe adventure zones would have two exits, one where you start would be back to where you came from and the one at the other end (not necessarily the opposite side, the path through could wind around and end up anywhere on the zone perimeter) would take you to your destination.

The point here is that there would exist in the game shared content raids (the zones I mentioned earlier with caves and dungeons and evil) with spawn timers and event cycles and so on, and there would exist instanced travel content where a player or group of players (or raid full of players) could go thwart evil unhindered by other players (an added bonus could be that clearing a road of bandits and other nasties could have an impact on the prices of NPC trade goods between the two end points of the journey).  As well there could also be “pocket” zones that would work more like traditional instances in other game – perhaps players, from a village or town, can accept a posted bounty or task that sends them either immediately into their own instance or directs them to a nearby crossroads where they can select their instance from the signpost.

Of course, I’m just spit-balling here.  But I think this sort of thing would be a very interesting idea to pursue.  Another day, I’ll go into how I’d apply EVE’s character design/building to a fantasy game as well…

Movie Round-Up: August 13th, 2010

Eat Pray Love:

A woman’s journey to self-discovery. I’m not going to be first in line to see this, but I haven’t been disappointed by many of Julia Roberts movies so I’ll be sure to catch this on Netflix when it is available.

The Expendables:

I had an opportunity to see a screening of this, but a conflict prevented me. Given the cast of action stars and what I’ve seen in the trailer this is going to be one hell of a ride. If I can find the time, I’ll be seeing this this wekend.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:

I did see a screening of this, and it was great fun. As a long time gamer myself I loved the references and imagery. Outside that however the movie is a typical boy chases girl type of film. So if the gamer angle doesn’t appeal, you might want to skip it. As for me, I might go see it again.


Today begins the first part of an ongoing project.  Basically it is the embodiment of those “a reason to write every day” things that some communities do that I could never get any communities I belonged to to get interested in.  The idea is to write, essentially any idea that comes into my head, all into one story, just to get it out of my head.  Perhaps some of these ideas will eventually become full stories on their own, perhaps this whole thing will evolve into something different.  Who knows!

Hopefully, the journey will be fun. I present to you… The Awesomest Story Ever Told.


Dragon*Con 2009: Day Zero

It is Thursday, the day before Dragon*Con officially begins, and like every year that means registration.  Some years it is a tiring journey downtown after work followed by a couple or three hours spent in line and then a trek back home to finish packing and sleep before making the real journey down on Friday for Con.

This year, however, the wife and I decided we’d just extend our hotel stay by one day so that our trip down for registration would end in us hanging around and meeting people and stumbling back to our room when we get tired.

Dragon*Con this year is going to be a little different for me.  Normally, I just post daily wrap-ups, but thanks to my purchase of a Palm Pre, I’ll be a little more “on time”.  First and foremost, the Pre has that awesome synergy thing you may have heard about, and what that means is that it blends my calendars from several sources into one display without syncing the calendars and duplicating stuff.  And with the folks at Dragon*Con providing a Google Calendar of events, it means I won’t really need to carry around the book and schedule, it will all be on my phone.  Next, with the use of Twitter and TwitPic, as well as Facebook, I’ll be able to snap photos from my phone and immediately get them out to all the people.  So, if you’d like to see them, here is me on Twitter, and here is me on Facebook.  I’ll try not to annoy people too much, but I make no promises.

So much to do, so much to see, so exciting… You know, the idea of PAX intrigues me, and I want to go, but I never will.  Dragon*Con is just so much… more.

Of course, it helps if you get to registration early.  They were open until 11, but they cut off the line at 9:30 at about where they estimated it would take two and a half hours to get through… we were beyond that point.  Registration opens again at 8 in the morning.  So without our badges we went down to the Marriott bar, Pulse, and hung around chatting and people watching… In New York, they say if you hang out in Times Square, you’ll see a million people walk by.  At Dragon*Con, the place to stand is in the Marriott.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

12 out of 13 nots
for thrilling family fun and 3D awesomeness

Nearly two months ago I was lucky enough to be able to go to an early screening of Journey to the Center of the Earth.  Rather than just simply retelling the Jules Verne novel in the present day, this movie takes the approach of “What if the character in the book had been real, had gone to the center of the Earth, returned, and told his tale to Jules Verne?”  So you wind up with a scientist (Brendan Fraser) whose brother vanished ten years ago while doing research on seismic activity, and now the same seismic pattern is appearing again, so he goes off in search of answers, with nephew in tow.

This movie is pure action adventure family fun.  And I highly recommend it to people with kids… and even people without kids.  Even as an adult I certainly was never bored.

One of the best things about this film, however, is that it is in 3D.  And it is not the old red/green blurry 3D.  This is the new digital 3D like you may have seen in last year’s Beowulf or the 3D version of The Nightmare Before Christmas or to some of the IMAX nature films.  Filmed with a pair of digital cameras that approximate the distance between your eyes, without the special glasses you’ll see two images nearly overlapping, but with the glasses on you’ll see the action almost literally jump off the screen.  And to top it off, the movie only blatantly abuses the 3D angle a few times at the beginning with shoving a couple of things toward the audience for thrills and laughs.  After that, you just feel like you are watching an enhanced film where many scenes just feel more real than you are used to.

Definitely, if you are going to see the movie, try your hardest to see it in a theater that is showing the 3D version.  It is worth it.  I just hope more movies get made in 3D, because it was a blast.

On the Road

Pretty much all my life I’ve seen and heard references to the book ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac. In movies, on television, in songs… its spoken of as a guide to life, a philosophical journey, even a right of passage… its talked of with a reverence that is usually held for things like the Bible… So, I was at the book store and I saw a copy on sale for $7 and I thought, ‘What the hell?’ and I bought it.

Perhaps the problem is that times have changed too much for Kerouac’s work to hold up, but, man, does this book ever suck!

Seriously, first off, its written in a stream of conciousness style from a man whose conciousness is like a wreck of freight trains, going in a dozen directions at once all piled on top of each other in an enormous mess of words. Secondly, none of his characters are sympathetic… perhaps in the late 50’s and early 60’s and even into the 70’s it was ‘cool’ and ‘with it’ to leave all responsibility behind and just run off and travel the roads, but that time has gone or at least I just don’t get it. The entire book I was waiting for someone to sit Dean Moriarty down and slap him in the face… He’s a completely reprehensible human being. He meets a girl, marries her, gets her knocked up, then immediately leaves town to find another girl. He blows off everything, storms into other people’s lives and leaves charred wreckage in his wake. The fact that Sal keeps hanging around this craphead is just annoying, and even more so that he seems to idolize him.

In the end, as someone who wants to be a writer, I’m glad I read the book. In my opinion, its a perfect example of everything not to do. I just wish it hadn’t been such a slow read so that I wouldn’t have wasted as much time on it as I did.