Mirage Source

Free ORPG making software.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:39 pm 
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This small guide assumes you're using Mirage Source, one of it's many derivatives, or a similar open source 2D ORPG project.

Step 1: Writing a back story
This critical step is often ignored. People tend to jump head first right into Step 2. Writing a back story is important because it sets the pace for the entire game. It doesn't have to be a whole novel; a simple paragraph or three will do just fine. Most Online RPGs are largely lacking in the substance of the story line, but that's because it is very difficult to cater to each individual player on a mass scale. However, your back story should include some basic worldly conflict to define purpose to each player.

Try to answer these questions while writing your back story:
- A: What is the time period? Past, Present, or Future
---- I: What is the technology like?
- B: What is the basic conflict?
---- I: Does this conflict pit the players against the artificial government?
---- II: Does this conflict pit the players against eachother?
- C: Where will the players start?
---- I: Why do they start there?
- D: What is the last objective for a player to complete?


Step 2: Custom Fitting Your Engine
Another mistake a lot of people make is over-bloating their engine with anything and everything they can think of to add to it. The best way to decide which changes to make to your engine is to reference your back story and make a check list of features you'll need sculpt a game based on that story. You will probably be tempted to revise your check list and add more and more. I advise you to keep it simple. Focus on a few really spectacular features that work flawlessly and make your game unique.

It's a good idea to collect any tiles, sprites, and item graphics your game will need before making any additions to your game. Revise your check list once more, this time keeping in mind any changes that will make your engine work more seamlessly with the graphics you have chosen to use.

Complete your check list one addition at a time. Tweak each feature to perfection before you move onto another item on your check list. Starting a new feature while in the middle of another can also be tempting, especially if you get stuck programming. Resist this temptation. Chances are that you're stuck because you've been staring at code for too long, and you just need a break or a nap to get a fresh perspective. When this is the case, the last thing you need to do is start working on a new feature.

Remember to keep it simple. Aim just above what you think you're capable of, and go for it. Complete your engine, and then debug, and debug some more. When you've completed all the features you've planned, go head and tie it all together with an appropriate GUI for your engine.


Step 3-1: Designing a World
If you've made it this far, then you've accomplished more than roughly 50% of people who pass through here attempting to make an Online RPG. Now it's time to start developing your game. Before mapping and making items, spells, and npcs, it's a good idea to make some first draft maps. Take a minute to think about how many towns and wildernesses you game should have. Give them some specific order that they should be developed, and label each with a level range the player should be within to survive these areas.

I like to use graph paper (I've also used MS Paint) to draw each area before it's developed. I draw an outline of whichever area I designate as my starting area. Whats great about doing this is you can draw boxes to represent where you will have houses and shops, or notable landmarks. You can also make a legend to point out key things in the game, like secret tunnel entrances, where quest NPCs will hang out, and where rare items can be found.

When you've got a basic outline and legend made, browse through your sprites, and make a list of all the wild NPCs that area will need. Then browse the sprites again, and make a list of all the civilized NPCs you'll need for shops, townies, and quests. Then browse through your item graphics, and make a list of all of the items (weapons, armor, spells, potions, and currency) the player will be able to collect from that area. I usually make this list next to the legend on my outline.

Using your game engine, map your outline and edit all of the equipment, items, and NPCs you listed earlier. Gather a few friends to help you find any mapping bugs, and tweak your starting area to perfection. Once you've completed your starting area, it's time to start the process over again. Get a fresh piece of graph paper, and start your outline for the next area in your game. Lather, rinse, and repeat.



I will complete these through out today and tomorrow as I get the time :D
Opinions so far? I'd like to revise it with anything extra you guys see fit to include.
Step 3-2: The Balancing Act Part I: Economics FTW

Step 3-3: The Balancing Act Part II: Achieving Addictive GamePlay

Step 4: Marketing: Make a website, tell a friend

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:22 pm 
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Update # 3

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Very nice, a must read for beginners!

Heh, I also tend to use graph paper, in fact i have a rather large detailed map some where of 4 sheets taped together. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:48 pm 
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Pbcrazy wrote:
Very nice, a must read for beginners!

Heh, I also tend to use graph paper, in fact i have a rather large detailed map some where of 4 sheets taped together. :D


Squared Moleskine.
Pages and pages of imitation-leather bound heaven.

Oh, and it's pretty good for maps.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Is this still being added to? It's a must-read.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:38 pm 
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I will add on to it. I had a 4th part all typed up, but firefox dicked out on me and I lost it. Next update will combine 3-2 and 3-3

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:19 pm 
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Wouldn't you think that making a website as early as possible would be more effective so you can generate hype and excitement for your game? I noticed that was on the bottom of your list, just my opinion though.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:53 pm 
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Hype is good and bad. Most people lose interest in a website pretty quickly if they have nothing to offer. Some people will bookmark it, and forget about it. Others will loose interest if a product is taking taking too long to be released. In my opinion, it's best not to start a website until you have a nearly finished, playable product.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:14 pm 
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That is very true, so maybe alpha phases would be a good time to start the advertising and stuff. Ive seen that happen to a lot of things.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:10 am 
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Rian wrote:
Hype is good and bad. Most people lose interest in a website pretty quickly if they have nothing to offer. Some people will bookmark it, and forget about it. Others will loose interest if a product is taking taking too long to be released. In my opinion, it's best not to start a website until you have a nearly finished, playable product.


you're my man!
website for my actual project is done but im not releasing it yet since i still need some work to finish before i can release an alpha or beta!

this guide is great! *****/*****

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:55 am 
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Punika wrote:
Rian wrote:
Hype is good and bad. Most people lose interest in a website pretty quickly if they have nothing to offer. Some people will bookmark it, and forget about it. Others will loose interest if a product is taking taking too long to be released. In my opinion, it's best not to start a website until you have a nearly finished, playable product.


you're my man!
website for my actual project is done but im not releasing it yet since i still need some work to finish before i can release an alpha or beta!

this guide is great! *****/*****


I disagree. MR is as clean as it is because of constant heavy community testing throughout every inch of its development, its unbelievable just how many things don't quite work right that you never would of thought of unless 10 people all got together and did something strange to break it all at once.

Images speak a thousand words, a really simple website with some development logs plastered with pretty images of how things are getting along and a comment system is perfect for a newly developing idea / game, get that thing in search engines as early as possible.

It also means when its time to start asking people to come online and test things, you have a small community of people ready and willing to do so - the hyped beta test is a must.

I kinda also disagree with this 'guide', I think if you have what it takes to make a project work it will all come together naturally anyway, the only piece of advise I would give people hoping to start their own games is not to use any-currently-popular-engine just because its easier, as they are bags of shit and you will hit a point where you can't work with it anymore because its coded so badly.

Call it shameless promotion but its frustrating seeing people start up new projects with trash like Elysium when MR is now open source, I think the only game ever to get anywhere with Elysium is Robin and Zoso's and that's only because they spent a year recoding half the thing.

Meh :P


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:09 pm 
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MR is a good source, but it's overkill. If you wanna work on a real engine and be able to feel it's your work down the line and not give up on it later, I'd suggest one of the main MS4 releases over MR. MR would be more of a source to rip the stuff you want from. Just my opinion though and I'm sure it's gonna piss someone off. ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:59 am 
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This is a nice guide, I like it. Please, please, write it down on paper or save it on your computer before you try and post it on the forums so you don't have to re-write the sections. :(


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