UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

General debates and discussion about the Guild of Writers and Age creation

Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Sirius » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:25 am

That's an opinion I don't hear often, but it's definitely valid. The few times it's discussed, people seem in favor of mass multiplayer with more public Ages and simplified instancing. But then it hasn't been discussed much, so any opinion on the matter is welcome.
The problem I see with LAN, is that IRL I've never ever met someone who plays Myst (aside from my siblings, who play very rarely and never even finished Uru). Let alone start an Uru LAN with them... :? I'm more of a loner but mass multiplayer is still cool to speak to other people (even though you might not know them) and sometime go exploring in groups.
Either way, an Uru MMO can be downscaled to a LAN - under the hood the networking is still mostly the same.

I've been reading about Unity and networking yesterday evening, and this is going to be hard regardless of whether it's LAN or MMO. Networking is a complex topic and I lack experience with it. I know it's doable, but I also know it's not something I can achieve until I have more experience with it. So for now I'm going to focus on single player.

sarpedon2 wrote:I hope you keep going with this project, its always nice to see many of the ages I've become familiar with since 2003, get a bit of makeover. :D

Things like Gira shadows are just small fixes to the original visuals. When I was converting them by hand, I had even more impressive results :D
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Re: UPlasma development - play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Lehnah » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:05 am

sarpedon2 wrote:
Sirius wrote:
  • Speaking of multiplayer. LAN-multiplayer sounds reasonable, and MASS multiplayer (on the MOULa scale) seems doable. Nothing solid yet, but definitely cool if I can pull it out later.


LAN-multiplayer seems like a more interesting way of playing Uru.


That would be awesome. Or even over a shared local network. Might finally be able to get my wife to play. :D
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Deledrius » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:50 am

Most of Uru honestly lends itself to small exploration parties. I think the ideal model for Uru would be largely similar to Guild Wars (the original's) in-world lobby model, with some public city areas being large-scale collections of players, and the Ages being for small groups of friends to play together. Making the ability for people to have official, mechanically-supported groups to explore as is one of those things on my wishlist to implement, but hard to find time for.
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby sarpedon2 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:16 am

Sirius wrote:Things like Gira shadows are just small fixes to the original visuals. When I was converting them by hand, I had even more impressive results :D


Lighting on the DRC lamps are impressive, though I wonder if D'ni lamps would still be operating after the Fall? I got the impression reading BoA that after the earthquake and plague, places like Ae'Gura were bathed in darkness, and the only light source would come from explorers.

Deledrius wrote:Most of Uru honestly lends itself to small exploration parties. I think the ideal model for Uru would be largely similar to Guild Wars (the original's) in-world lobby model, with some public city areas being large-scale collections of players, and the Ages being for small groups of friends to play together. Making the ability for people to have official, mechanically-supported groups to explore as is one of those things on my wishlist to implement, but hard to find time for.


Ultimately, the problems Uru may have are foundational in nature. While the original vision of Uru, which is glimpse every-now-and-then in design docs, contemporary interviews by Cyan personal, is still so exciting, it was implemented before the technology arrived. Moreover, while one interview I read (RAWA perhaps?) mentioned constantly updated graphics, Uru-Live was aborted, and it never recovered. I do hope sometime in the future, someone reassesses the concept of an multiplayer/MMO adventure game. Just the idea of being dropped into a world you know little about is interesting enough. Being dropped into an everchanging world with other players and a storyline is even more interesting.
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Deledrius » Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:50 am

sarpedon2 wrote:Moreover, while one interview I read (RAWA perhaps?) mentioned constantly updated graphics

Things like that are basically a given for any MMO that lasts long enough to need it. It's a shame that Uru never even left the nest.
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Tweek » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:39 am

Yeah I always thought lobbies (ala Left for Dead) would work better, keep the groups smaller and more intimate.
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Sirius » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:54 pm

Lehnah wrote:That would be awesome. Or even over a shared local network. Might finally be able to get my wife to play. :D

I don't expect to code the multiplayer part soon, but if/when I do it I'll remember to make LAN an option then ;)

sarpedon2 wrote:Lighting on the DRC lamps are impressive, though I wonder if D'ni lamps would still be operating after the Fall?

Probably not. But the DRC likely restored/powered most of them through DRC magic I guess.
I like this version of Ae'gura. It was laggy, but also had both bright lights and deeper shadows, which did make it feel more cavernous.


sarpedon2 wrote:Ultimately, the problems Uru may have are foundational in nature. While the original vision of Uru, which is glimpse every-now-and-then in design docs, contemporary interviews by Cyan personal, is still so exciting, it was implemented before the technology arrived.

Uru was a very ambitious project. With today's technology they might have succeeded, but I still doubt a small or medium sized company could produce enough content per month to feed players. And even then it wouldn't make much money. Typical MMOs solve it with endless grind and cheap "recycled" content, which somehow satisfies players...

Deledrius wrote:Most of Uru honestly lends itself to small exploration parties. I think the ideal model for Uru would be largely similar to Guild Wars (the original's) in-world lobby model, with some public city areas being large-scale collections of players, and the Ages being for small groups of friends to play together.

Tweek wrote:Yeah I always thought lobbies (ala Left for Dead) would work better, keep the groups smaller and more intimate.

Interesting idea. I haven't played the original GW, but L4D really shines when it comes to group and cooperation. I guess something similar would work fine for Cyan's Ages. Bigger Ages like Dulcamara's and Denost's might be fun with bigger groups though.

I played a couple MMOs in the last year. While they bored me to death halfway through, it was very instructing to see how they work. Made me understand better some of Uru's shortcomings too. (It's crazy how MMOs all feel like verbatim copies of World of Warcraft though...)
Following this, I tried to imagine how to integrate more MMO concepts into Uru. Like, a better use of guilds, party raiding, stuff like this. All this while trying to avoid the regular MMO grind/recycle crap I mentioned. Since Uru doesn't have a combat system, I imagined replacing it with exploration and Age creation mechanics. It was pretty fun trying to adapt MMO tropes to a nonviolent game, along with fitting fanmade content in it.
Having a well-designed nonviolent exploration MMO would be pretty unique, and might even be a really successful business :shock: ... When I'm rich or something I'll hire an army of developers to create that game for me and find out if I was right :lol:
I still have those notes on my PC. If it interests people I might clean them up and post the result here.
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Sirius » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:15 am

Trivia time, for those who understand how PRPs work.

The same unique PythonFile modifier can be referenced by multiple SceneObjects. Each SceneObject then runs its OWN copy of the script referenced by the single PFM they share. Those scripts all have a plKey, and I suspect they all share the plKey of the PFM - which they use for registering to events, start timers, communicating over the network, etc. :facepalm: What the heck.
I haven't checked what happens in the engine itself that justifies this behavior. But I suspect it's just stupid design. Sharing modifiers never happens in programs like Blender or Unity. Resources can be shared, but not modifiers. And even then, since there is only one python modifier, you should end up with only one python script.

Anyway... Obviously my PRP loader expects the inverse behavior, so those PFM end up configured wrong. I'm afraid there will be plenty more like this the further I go into Plasma specific behavior.
Ah well. I'd better stop complaining and figure out some kind of hack already.

[edit: rephrased so the post doesn't sound uselessly angry]
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby Aloys » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:51 am

Sirius wrote:I still doubt a small or medium sized company could produce enough content per month to feed players. And even then it wouldn't make much money.


That's the core of the problem: producing enough content to satisfy the players and make it profitable.

The sad truth is: it's all a matter of money. It's an endless debate over how to turn Uru into a successfull business. One could devote entire forums and real life conferences to it.. The bottom line is that Uru/Myst is a puzzle solving / exploration game, and in order to satisfy this kind of demand, you need to produce a bunch of content. And in order to satisfy this kind of subscription based revenue model you need to have content ready on a regular basis.

And the math just doesn't add up.

Even with a lot of up front design (years), producing good refined content just takes *time*... I love the idea of Uru, I love the game(s) that came out of it. but I just don't think it's a viable model. As much as I would want it to.

Sirius wrote:a small or medium sized company


A bigger studio might be able to churn out content fast enough, and even that I'm not sure. Producing the assets & code isn't the problem, being able to test and then iterate is the problem. And no matter how many ressources you throw at it you eventually hit the universal wall: it just takes time..

But even assuming a bigger budget would solve that particular problem, you are still left with big costs that you need to recoup. And then enters the second sad part of the equation: is there enough of a demand? Can such a game attract enough people to be sustainable? As much as I would love that to be true even in the best days we never had more than a 5 figures registered user base... That's just not enough. :(

One might be able to rethink the whole thing from the ground up, maybe change the revenue model, but in the end Uru is just a game that cost a lot of money to run and expand..
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Re: UPlasma development - Play Plasma from the Unity engine

Postby belford » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:51 am

I've seen some discussion recently of "gardening" mechanics in games -- building and customizing social spaces. This is easy to find in single-player games (Stardew Valley), but it doesn't seem to have penetrated the MMO mindset.

Or maybe it has! I never look at the casual MMO space. (Or the big combat-RPG MMO space, for that matter. But at least I have a good idea how WoW and GuildWars *play*.) Everybody says "Oh, yeah, I wish Glitch hadn't failed" but I don't know what replaced it in the hearts of people who wanted that. Maybe nothing.

The idea of small groups of people sitting around and slowly customizing and gardening in a group Age or neighborhood, over the course of weeks or months, is interesting. I think Relto just scratched the surface of that. It's not the puzzle-exploration mechanic that defines the Myst series, but it *is* consonant with the social gaming model that Cyan seemed to be pushing when Uru was in progress.

(No, this does not directly answer the "is it profitable" question. One extremely customizable Age is just as expensive to produce as several bespoke Ages, if not more so. This is just the direction my thoughts are trailing down.)
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