Planning for milestone 1

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m working toward a MMORPG Tycoon 2 milestone. This is still relatively early development on the game, but I reckon that following milestones will keep me motivated.

I’m calling the first milestone “Starting Area”. It will be playable, and will include a subset of the features for the full game.

In “Starting Area”, the player takes on the role of a junior game designer, who has been given the task of working on an expansion for an existing MMORPG.  In it, the player is tasked with creating the starting region for a new character class that’s being introduced.  It’ll be the player’s job to create the terrain of the region, to set up any towns or buildings, to create and place the quests, and so on.  The player will not design the new character class, or the types of monsters to be fought, or use the new subscriber feedback model.

In “Starting Area”, the player’s goal will be to get subscribers to leave the starting area at a particular experience level.  Bonus points if the subscribers are happy at the time when they leave the starting area.  Penalty points for subscribers actually unsubscribing within the starting area.

Also not included in this first milestone will be the secret “third game mode”, since it isn’t relevant to these tasks.  ;)

  1. Init game world with “Field” terrain type, instead of just being blank.  Maybe seed in a few strokes of “Mountain”, just for the sake of visual interest.
  2. Make region borders affect the terrain again (mountainous borders).
  3. Make placed buildings be able to affect the terrain.
  4. Make terrain adjustments affect already-placed buildings.
  5. Improve terrain adjusting tools.
  6. Confine the player to within his starting region.  No exploring the rest of the MMORPG!  (Which means that I don’t have to generate or store the rest of the MMORPG for this first milestone)
  7. Draw quest-givers as NPCs, not as buildings
  8. Improve player AI to not become confused by having more than one NPC quest-giver available per level range.
  9. Implement quest-editing GUI.
  10. Implement Combat Engine 2.0
  11. Improve player AI to choose when to leave the current region, and move on to the next one.
  12. Improve AI pathfinding to be able to cope with traversing from one region to another.

Originally, I said that I’d finish up this first milestone for January 4th, but with the number of things still on the list, I think it’s unlikely that I’ll make that deadline;  somewhere around January 11th is probably more likely.  (I’m still going to try for the 4th, though!)

Regardless of precisely when it’s done, I’ll put it up here on the site so that people can have a look and let me know how well it runs for them.  But it’s important to bear in mind that this is going to be pre-pre-alpha quality;  it’s just a milestone, not a finished product.  All sorts of rough edges will be there, there won’t be a tutorial or a front-end UI that lets you adjust your game settings, and there almost certainly won’t be any ability to save or restore your game.  (Although I agree that that’s a critically important feature;  maybe I’ll get to that for milestone 2)