Friday, December 12, 2003


Read an interesting Developer Diary entry today on GameSpy - for Ultima X:Odyssey (AKA UXO).
The combat system sounds very interesting - it had perked my interest before with some of the earlier descriptions that they were planning, but the latest development (That of making combat in a MMOG more akin to a Fighting Game in that you control when you swing etc) sounds like it will definitely be worth checking out.

With a couple of caveats, of course:

  • Don't make the game too 'twitch' based - this is supposed to be an RPG, not a Fighting Game! Make it so player skill isn't the be-all and end-all.
  • Don't make it TOO much of a click-fest - I tried out a demo of the latest Lord Of The Rings game on the PC not long ago and it WASN'T good for Carpal Tunnel - the constant clicking to swing!

Besides that - I'm adding UXO to my 'Ones to Watch' list - could be a good Casual playing game!

Thursday, December 11, 2003


A useful resource I'm still looking into for my work purposes - but would also be useful for any budding MMOG developers (Or just general coders/techies) is Safari. It is, basically, an online library of almost 2000 books from various publishers. You can sign up for a 2-week free trial here, and there's varying pricing afterwards depending on how many books you want to 'check out' at a time - I believe its $9.95 for a 5 'point' subscription per month (Most books are 1 point, some are less, some are more).

I'm currently reading Designing Virtual Worlds by Dr. Richard Bartle, who most of you will know as the co-creator of the original MUD - it's an interesting book so far - certainly eye-opening in some regards!

They have a BUNCH of books there so certainly worth looking into - it was VERY helpful when I was looking for some information for work!

Star Wars Galaxies

So I've been playing some Star Wars Galaxies again recently. I originally played in late Beta (Which could be quite painful at times but hey - that's what Beta is for!) and I bought the game at Launch. The launch wasn't as bad as it COULD have been but then it wasn't the best either. I enjoyed the game a lot back then - it was good to be away from a traditional level treadmill for a change! I went there with a bunch of folks from one of my old guilds and for a while we all had a grand time - but fairly soon most of us (Excluding me and a couple others) got sucked into the 'Crafting Vortex' that SWG has - which sucked royally for those of us who want to be out adventuring! It was almost impossible to drag them away from their Crafting Stations! So, I quit - soloing had taken its toll on me (I hate soloing!!!) - and went on to other things for a few months.

Fast-forward to last week - got chatting with an old buddy of mine from back in my MUDding days - I knew he had been playing SWG since almost launch also so I asked him how it was going - I'd heard a mixture of good and bad things from the Waterthread crowd but then that lot are rather jaded at times. I was pleasantly surprised to hear it was going pretty well on there. I'd been looking for something else to tide me over until the next big thing (TM) comes along and this seemed to hit the spot rather nicely!
I re-subscribed and found that indeed, rather a lot had changed - though not so much I couldn't remember how to play! I've explored more with my buddy in the space of a week than I did in two months of play before - its a LOT easier to organize trips when its just two of you as opposed to a whole guild! I'm currently playing a Creature Handler and its been interesting so far - not too grindy (But then when you have a Master Creature Handler to help you get all that Scouting Exp then that's a definite bonus!).

Bottom line - sure, SWG isn't everyone's cup of tea - but they've done a lot of work on it and its only getting better - worth a second try!

Saturday, December 06, 2003


Well this is my first post (As you can see) in a blog ever.

My goal with this really is just to put pen to paper on random thoughts I have on things I read - I spend a lot of time reading the latest news and stories from most MMOG worlds, as well as quite a few forums and bulletin boards - and I generally have opinions - but I'm not much one for posting to forums - I don't feel much like sparring with other folk!

Well - lets see - where to start - I guess a little background on my history with MMOGs (And prior to them, MUDs)

I have been playing online RPGs for almost 10 years now, starting when I arrived at University in 1994.
Back in those days it was all strictly text-based MUDs via telnet though. I played mostly LP MUDs for 5-6 years from then - and also coded on them, which was a great experience.

When Ultima Online hit the stands, I was still too much in my text-based mode and I really didn't want to touch it - graphics weren't for me at the time (A lot of MUDders still look down on people who play MMOGs these days which I find sad - they see them as somehow 'inferior' as they require less of an imagination - which I don't necessarily agree with) - though in hind-sight I wish I HAD jumped in then as history was in the making. I finally got dragged into these types of games in mid-2000 when my flat-mate of the time showed me EverQuest - and life wasn't the same anymore! I got suckered into that game for almost 2 years - I have no regrets about it as I had great time and I still remember it fondly, but I've moved on since then.

Since then I've moved on to other games, though I have become more and more jaded - the 'magic' I experienced has seemingly disappeared in a series of derivative games that really didnt offer all THAT much new to the equation. Thats one of the topics I will (more or less) cover as I post here as I think its something a lot of MMOG players feel sooner or later - that 'burn-out' factor.

Anyway - thats my first post - more to come!