Improbable wants to build better MMO worlds

    
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If you’re looking for signs of what the next generation of MMOs could look like, then you might want to start checking out the work that Improbable is doing.

A studio that’s been generating some serious buzz over the past year, Improbable’s main project is creating a platform that allows creators to build virtual worlds that are far more complex and emergent than the one we have today. A new piece at Wired highlights how Improbable CEO Herman Narula became frustrated with the limitations of MMOs and wanted to create tech that would surpass “player-centric illusion” to utilize physical laws and object persistence.

“We read books and we cry, we laugh, we’re horrified, we fall in love — those experiences matter to people,” Narula said. “Online worlds need to evoke the same thing. In the last few years we’ve seen the abysmal failure of games attempting to mimic the World of Warcraft model of repeating scripted content. The average gamer age is 37, the industry is worth a hundred billion dollars, and people are hungry for deeper experiences. They want their actions to make a difference.”

Worlds Adrift is already being created on Improbable’s platform, which helped Bossa Studios get the game up and running in far less time than previously thought possible. Other projects that are utilizing Improbable include former DayZ creator Dean Hall’s space colonization title Ion and researchers looking to model the UK housing market.

Source: Wired
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AGx
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AGx

DoctorOverlord I disagree. Think about games with a strong narrative and well designed worlds within that narrative. For me, games like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, TLOU, or even Metal Gear Solid come to mind. Think about that feeling you got the first time you walked down that hallway and saw all those slaughtered soldiers Grey Fox had killed. You had no idea what you were about to face but the designers tried to set the tone with the environment. The same goes for that little settlement in Soul Reaver where you come across a few of the surviving humans. They were utterly terrified of you thanks to the events the narrative explain given what vampires had done and their the poverty like conditions they lived in showed off their plight.

What I think this guy is talking about is creating something that allows developers to create worlds that are far more immersive than what we currently have, where the open world is closer in complexity to what you get in instanced dungeons. I mean, I’ve been in dungeons in games where I’ve stopped to ponder why this area looks as it does or how it relates to the enemies that  reside there. I never think that about the billionth forest I’ve run through. It’s just a forest.

c71clark
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c71clark

I’ve been wondering why no one (I know of, at least) is using the Seti@Home distributed processing setup to help massive games scale up. Imagine 15,000 PC’s  all running a little processing thread while the player in online that is contributing to the overall server function!

c71clark
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c71clark

Telos_ Well, to be honest, they didn’t really “do” it. They *planned* on doing it, but Landmark got shuffled aside for another cookie-cutter MMO (EQ:Next). The player-scripted events and AI, dynamic fluids and all that stuff *would* have been awesome. Maybe i the next few years they will pick it back up, but by then I expect to see even cooler games coming along.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

Telos_  But, how to solve the dong problem? Second Life has a dong script that has been used to troll players. Minecraft is too boxy to really suffer from this, and the servers are small and private, not massive. If you let a few thousand players make their own assets, there will be much ass, and load of dongs.
One possibility is to have assets be approved by the publisher, but that will take a committee of people who have to be paid just to look at the assets. There could be a community vote page to help filter out the junk, but then that nifty sword you made may languish with a low rating and never get approved.
Further, 3D art programs are no joke, Maya runs $185 a month last I checked, and takes pro skill to use. Coding up a simple voxel engine is one thing, doing something much more complex is another.
User created content has serious potential, but there are some equally great challenges that need to be dealt with.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

CistaCista Ket_Viliano  Network latency is not the reason you can’t but stuff on the ground in an mmo, developer vision is. If the devs do not value trash on the ground, and most don’t, then they won’t code for it. Every feature costs in time and money, and investors are real bastards, they won’t fund creative risk.
Render limits might influence a decision to keep trash off the ground, Worlds Adrift has very simple, even crude rendering and may well run on a lousy laptop with intel graph. They have no edge smoothing, and monotone textures, visually very boring but ok for a prototype.
As for blowing up whole ships, UE4 has code for that, the only issue is the developers choice about how to use it.
Improbable does not do any thing new. All they have done is to repackage technology that already exists.
Current MMOs kinda suck because the developers of the older games had really crappy computers, and more current developers are crippled by the investors lack of vision. Technology has nothing to do with it.

tobascodagama
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tobascodagama

Ket_Viliano Oh, you’re right, they’re exactly the same game except for one incredibly huge difference that impacts nearly every corner of the server code.

CistaCista
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CistaCista

Ket_Viliano CistaCista There’s this one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rgQ8MmQ80o
Around 32 minutes you will see them destroy a whole ship to smithereens, the pieces all falling about, then they kick individual pieces down the cliff. Somewhere else I have seen them take off in a ship that collides with a (growing) tree standing over it, uproots and flies off with the whole tree, until the tree falls off and plunges down.

Omedon
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Omedon

Salt AU Armsbend Kalamari Actually, with the access to information and various forms of release without leaving the home that we have now, I’d think that kids in their 20s would be LESS likely to be letting their horomones drive the social bus for them if they can get a grip before it’s too late.  Partying and fraternizing are bloody expensive, and a kid with a real future is going to do these things sparingly and find release in something more introverted as an activity.  Imagine the opportunities for a young person that can avoid spending ridiculous money on a significant other, impregnating or becoming pregnant, and driving places that only exist to hook a vaccuum up to your wallet for the chance to look at the opposite sex live and in colour.

Meatspace social lives are so 20th century. ;)

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

tobascodagama  Guns of Icarus? Been done. Worlds Adrift just has simpler graphics and an open, persistent world.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

shadowblender  I love a company with no business model and no customers.