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TrollHammer

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PostSubject: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:25 pm

One more (last?) time, Im looking into a video game for the fans of Elf Quest.

As things have changed in technology and available game engines, Im wondering which way I should go with it. I seem to be drawn to the concept like a moth to the light, even though the project keeps burning me. I dont know if Ill have peace if I dont get somewhere on it, though.

So my question is, what would you, the potential player, have to play it on, and what would you like to see?

Are you a Mac, PC, or Linux user? Do you use an android phone or an Iphone (or something else)? Would a web browser be best (and what kind)?

2D? 3D? RPG? First Person Explorer? Question and Answer? Interactive comic? Something else?

What time frame, or story path, or open world, or what ever would you want to do in such a game? Would you play as an Elf, Troll, Human, or Preserver (or something else?

What would make you want to play an Elf Quest game?

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:30 pm

The existence of one.

I prefer RPGs (PC user, don't have a smart phone). I've played a couple interactive game demos/chapters and enjoyed them, but not enough to lay out money for them. An EQ one would be different. Also played Fallen London for a while, too.

For me, at least, it's like the Field of Dreams: if you build it, I'll be there.
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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:16 pm

Oooh, I'd love a first person adventure. I don't know how to play RPGs, I suck at them. It would be neat to just play a Wolfrider and have all these new worlds you explore with Cutter and the others. I think it could be done on any system really, when a game gets enough of a fan base it tends to become available on multitudes of platforms.

My favorite games are Grim Fandango, Syberia, and The Longest Journey. Narrative and story in games is always important to me and so is exploration, and I feel like EQ would do well with that.
You can split up the game into 'chapters' or sequels, from Bearclaw's time into Cutter's, and go with Sorrow's End, then do another sequel into Blue Mountain, etc...
There would be intuitive puzzles to solve along the way, like with the lodestone, where to find 'water' and figuring out to cut into the cactuses on the way to Sorrow's End, and bits of dialogue from different characters, and key pieces of inventory to help with the puzzles and quests....like stuff with New Moon, the lodestone for figuring directions, finding whistling leaf to chew on, etc...that kind of thing. There could even be simulation segments with wolf riding and riding the Gliders' birds, and training for combat with the Go-Backs for the Palace wars, training with swords and learning how to fight with armor.

Cinematic and gorgeous and very exploration-oriented as well as task-oriented. And an awesome soundtrack! That's the kind of stuff I like, worlds I can get lost in.

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Tue Dec 29, 2015 11:18 pm

Of course we already know the answers to all the stuff in the game lol. But all kinds of 'new' interactions and details along the same lines would be great. It would definitely require additional writing to go along the same storyline as EQ.

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:38 am

Thanks for the input so far! Just the kinds of things I wanted to know! Be as in depth as youd like, the more I hear the better decisions can be made.

As always, if anyone is interested in helping, feel free to chime in. If Im limited to what I can do or find for free, it might be less than desirable (if it happens at all... but I have a different plan this time).

Just to be clear, the ...ahem... "license", or rather, tenative permission I was able to obtain for a fan game is strictly zero profit. So unless something changes, my interpretation is that there would be no cost to a user/player. Not that I ever intended to profit from it or anything.

The good thing with this is anyone who wants to could play regardless of income or time or budget. The bad thing is theres not any money for development/porting/normal stuff like that.

So, Im trying to get as much info on what others want to see to know where time is best spent. I will be using an engine (tbd) that includes as many system ports as possible, however the "mobile" side is semi limiting: some engines have no mobile ports, some only Iphone, some include android. Its a big undertaking Id only want to do once (graphics, sound, animations, etc) and be able to grow as there is time in the future (such as including secondary systems, if this makes sense.) Anyway, thats all behind the scenes.

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:24 am

Still looking for any more input! Anything anyone wants to add will help me make the right choices.

Right now Im in middle of the biggest decision that will influence all others: the Game Engine.

I have a small familiarity with an early version of Unreal Engine. This would make it very graphical and 3D,but would require a lot of graphics I dont have much time for as I suck at graphics. Terrain and world building would be relatively easy, and as long as no money is charged for it, its free.

I have looked at SCUMM, but these are non-networked. Theres some other text based games I habe tried but they wouldnt fit witb EQ, perhaps?

Im also looming at making my own engine from the ground up. This would initially be text based and oversimplified, but dedicated to EQ. If I can swing it, it wouldnt need a central server to be on all the time, lowering the cost of bandwidth and power.

I looked at blender, unity, and several others. Some cost money, some have a steep learning curve.

I was just told to look at modding Mincraft. This would require all players to by a $30 copy of minecraft and download the mod. I dont know anything more than that.

RPG maker is not desireable, as it wouldnt be ours and might run into licensing issues.

Any other thoughts on engines or features or anything else?

If anhone is good with coding, graphics, sound,or typing,let me know if you want to help work on this.

Oh, btw,if all else fails, I do have a basic shell that can be adapted into a troll based dungeon crawler,single player. That WILL happen if nothing else does.

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:20 am

I don't know anything about game engines, but as far as the "what do you use" question I have access to a good Mac, a finicky PC (we use it for older games, but modern ones are generally beyond its ability to cope), and iPhone. Personally I don't much care for Minecraft, so I wouldn't love that as an option. Text based would be perfectly find for me, although of course seeing the world in living color would be amazing as well.

As for the game experience, I would say that for me, the biggest thing is that it really feel like the World of Two Moons. The exact activities you do aren't so important to me--if you can give me a really nice, well-fleshed-out setting in which I can bond with a wolf, hunt, and look for shelter, I'm totally happy with just that. Survival challenges would be of interest to me because they really let you dig into the world itself. Maybe you could have different versions for different areas--woodland survival for the Wolfriders, a Go-Back separated from the tribe and trying to get back to the lodge in the snow, etc. Sorrow's End wouldn't work so well for that, but maybe it could be the 'reward' you explore after successfully making your journey. Not sure that would work in all cases, but like I said, the world itself is the part I would really love to see highlighted in a game because I think that the ability to explore on your own terms is what sets a game experience apart from something like the comics or novelizations.
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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:47 am

I don't play much games either... but I'd be interested in an EQ one

I'm on a PC, a rather old and slow one so it'd be nice for the game not to require the latest technology.

I don't have a smartphone of any kind.

A first-person explorer would be best I think. I'd play an elf character. I'd be interested mostly because it's EQ and I love EQ.

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:19 pm

I know ZERO about different engines. I can say that I play most on mobile devices...Android, Kindle, Nintendo 3DS.

I'm a huge RPG fan. Been playing them my whole life, they are definitely my favorite genre. But I guess it depends on what you want to do...my vision for a game has always been a replay of canon events, but having made your own character. Perhaps like a...split version, in the beginning. Opening sequence being the Palace's crash, maybe a little background and history, and then you pick your tribe. Wolfrider, Go-Back, Wavedancer, Sun Folk, or Glider. Then each tribe has a unique path until a certain point in the game, and then it's the same for all. You choose a Glider, maybe your character is a member of the Chosen Eight, for example, and the Glider-only part of the game ends when you join the Wolfriders with Aroree. Something like that. There'd be a lot of canon-bending, but I don't care.

Other option in my mind would be to do something completely disassociated from canon. You start out as a tribal chief and you have to get your tribe through so many obstacles and events to win. Said events would be randomized for high replay value. Perhaps could choose what tribe, who's in the tribe (maybe you start out with a certain selection and can unlock others as you achieve different things in the game, and/or the ability to generate random OCs and apply stats), point in time, difficulty, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:15 am

This is great stuff, exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to get!  Keep chiming in with any more ideas you might have!

Im finding that regardless of the nuts and bolts or goal of the "real" game, I have a large learning curve to get passed that I didnt realize was there. As such, Im messing with a brutally simple text based RPG to learn what I need to.  If I feel like it might be fun enough, Ill find some way to share it. The way Im building it I can make it work on a PC, Mac, or Linux easily (and Im sure I can find some way to make it work on a phone).  It wont interfere with the main game: its set onboard the Palace as a Troll during the time before the crash. Its coming along fast.  Its not the networked game I would like to see for the World of Two Moons, but its a start. Anyone interested in seeing it when its done?

(EDIT: realizing that I have another commitment this month... Im going to do my best to complete thr game and submit at least the first half for the January Grab Bag. Ill also post it here.... of course, thats assuming I find some way to host it.)

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:45 pm


For the main question at thread start it would be primarily a PC (x86_64) running an OS based on a Linux kernel.

Web browsers are meh since nothing works as intended. Especially JavaScript or other strange "extensions" to plain html. Different versions, up and down, all the time. They all should show the same content like a PDF but they don't. Also due to failure of web designers.

I'd play an elf, preferably. But maybe a second time with a totally different character.

Not sure what kind of game would be suitable for EQ, though RPGs offer quite a good bunch of possibilities. Or adventures. Though you normally set a given character and the story driving (railroading) is sometimes a bit more strict there. But easier to implement. Even though I like some 3d shooters (since 486 times!) I wouldn't think EQ is a suitable background. It also comes with a lot of initial development for creating an engine or at least doing all the modeling, animation, level / map building.
At all, I think you're going to see a huge bunch of work.


@TrollHammer wrote:
the Game Engine.

I see you looked around a lot.

> Unreal Engine.
So it is free of cost? But I guess it'll need a lot of skills and learning and working with it. In any case you had to do all the scripting and modeling and texture making, sounds etc. Of course, this applies to most engines. But for some 2D sprites are easier to implement than 3d models with animations.
On the other hand, once you have a rigged 3D model it's easier to animate than drawing sprites again and again (unless you use some vecotor graphics that could slightly aid the process).

> I have looked at SCUMM, but these are non-networked
Do we really need network?

> Im also looming at making my own engine from the ground up. This would initially be text based and oversimplified, but dedicated to EQ. If I can swing it,
> it wouldnt need a central server to be on all the time, lowering the cost of bandwidth and power.
A lot of people don't write their own engines, probably for good reason. So they can focus on the game itself, not being busy writing an engine for years.

> I looked at blender, unity, and several others. Some cost money, some have a steep learning curve.
You'll need Blender anyway if you inted anything 3D.

> Minecraft.
Is evil since it was bought my MS.
And the mentioned required license.

> RPG maker is not desireable, as it wouldnt be ours and might run into licensing issues.
Not ours? How far? Not familiar with the engine itself, but did they write strange terms into it? Like all your games you make are belong to us?

> Any other thoughts on engines or features or anything else?
No, because I have only superficial knowledge about this topic. But freedom software and system independent would probably be a good option, or at least system independent and free of cost.
Good luck and take small steps.
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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:08 pm

@jArf: thanks for the feedback, lots to think about. You raised a few questions that Im not sure I know the answers to, other than I have ghosts of all the ideas I've had over the years. Im hoping that Im getting enough input from enough people to get a good grasp of what others want and not just my view. That said, heres some of whats going on in my head:

Networking: Originally I wanted to start the game as a way to bring the fan community together when things were getting... strained in the past. I saw one of the old forum's strengths being our sense of community, and after hearing 8 hours a day about Rift and other MMOs, I thought a socially oriented game would be a good thing to focus on.

I looked around for free engines that fit the profile. I came across an engine called NetGore (not due to gore level, but due to the creator's name) and it had everything: internet connectivity, theoretically simple graphics (2d sprites in either side scroller or top down), and the format was what you made of it: it didnt need to be "kill or be killed", it could be exploration galore, cooperation between tribes, all that good stuff. It potentially would have been able to have macro messages in multiple languages and be able to do all sorts of stuff with magic representation.

But I had trouble with my computer. I spent 3 years slugging it out trying to wrap my head around C# (I only knew C at the time), and unbeknownst to me, my computer's main board was fried and wouldnt allow openGL to work, and so I couldnt see anything on the screen as far as game graphics. Finally the last straw came when the developers canceled support for the engine, and I threw in the towel.

But it still nags at me, and probably wont leave me in peace until I make something. I dont care what it is, as long as I can help someone enjoy EQ a little more.

Anyway, I guess it doesnt HAVE to be networked, I just figured if there's basically a networked and non-networked version of pretty much any format of game engine, why not have the ability for fans to connect with each other on thr World of Two Moons to help each other survive? Thats just my opinion, though. I dont know if anyone else thinks so.

(More later, gotta go)

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:24 am

I think networking would be a really cool feature, when you put it that way! Maybe you could belong to a "type" of elf/troll/whatever (say, wolfrider) and then form your own tribe along the lines of an MMO guild (like the Howling Rock wolfriders). That would leave a lot of room for really great interaction, and in my experience even a simplistic MMO has a lot of extra replay/time value versus a simple RPG by virtue of unique realtionships with other people rather than just "achieve goal, receive reward"
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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:31 pm

The tribe=guild thing was definately a part of the plan back with Netgore, and the good part about doing it by choice rather than by default or race is that one could easily have a mixed tribe. As it is with other stratigies (engines), Im not sure about native guild support. Ill have to research it.

Knowing that this is desired helps, I can put it on the list of features.

If I have my wish, Id like a networked game to go one of two ways:
-ongoing/never ending: each player's character would continue to develop (no reset), and new content would be added content would either be pushed or manually added as they are available.
-iterative with several possible end-games states: various possibilities would be possible as an ending. All players would have a selection in their control panel that is toggleable: when more than 50% of players select "restart current game when end reached", and an end state is reached (Blue Mountain becomes the great egg and absorbs the Palace, or the Scroll of Colors is destroyed, or all Elves are on board the palace), the game resets and starts over. This way the outcome of the game is based on the actions of all.

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:30 am

Ive stumbled into a crossroads with the "main" game. If it is to be multiplayer, Im trying to decide how the networking part should lay out. Heres what I mean, with pros and cons:

"Normal" server/client: this is the way multiplayer game are usually played, where a player runs a program called a Client that handles displaying whats going on and player input, and this connects to a server somewhere else. This is secure, more understood and documented (easier to learn for me), but the game will require that someone host a server and keep the server going as long as there are players playing. This comes down to money, as either space needs to be purchased online or a server at home has to be set up (or, one could use the same computer they are playing the game with, but if they disconnect the computer or shut it down, everyone loses their connection and perhaps everything they did). The good: central and secure. The bad: requires committment on someone's part to keep it up. Also, if the server isnt up, you cant play by yourself.

Peer to Peer: this is trickier as it opens the door for cheating (which shouldnt be a problem in our group) and isnt well documented as its not done often. The upside is that a game will appear to play no different with one player or several, aside from the lack of people to chat with. This option would take longer but would allow games to be played without someone committing money to hardware or online server space, or leaving their computer on (though they still could if they wished). The good: allows players to play when they want to without having to connect to a server online, can be played single player or multiplayer as able and desired with little to no difference in perceived gameplay. The bad: not as secure, not fast for me to learn in comparison.

The original plan was to have a server at my house with the game running and be done with it, but after seeing the current state of the internet, I believe this would cost me quite a bit in monthly fees and potential overuse fees. That, or renting server space, which means potentially having my billing info hacked, the server hacked, or other issues. This isnt impossible to overcome, but I was just wondering what you all might think about this, if you have a preference?

(As to the single player text game, its coming along well, just time consuming adding all the content. I have the map roughed in, the rooms generated, plot outlined, and just working to connect it all, then add the customizations that will hopefully make it feel "questy". I might make it by the end of the month!)

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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:16 pm

Video games that are adaptions of movies or other specific stories tend to not impress, IMO. Replaying the OriginalQuest doesnt much turn my head. And I'd rather play an elf of my own making than a canon character.

I do like the 'survival challenge' aspect brought up by Cloudbuck, though.

Putting those those thoughts together, how about a game where the plot revolves around answering the call being sent out by the Palace in FinalQuest? If different kinds of elves were available, players would have different advantages and disadvantages to making the journey. I would gladly play as a troll or Preserver, too.

I have a Windows PC.
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PostSubject: Re: One more time.... EQ Video Game information...   Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:25 am

>The original plan was to have a server at my house with the game running

Well, I see a few problems on all sides.

At home
Contra:
You need electric power. Quite a bit, depending on the hardware. Also, it would be a 24/7 machine. Means: More power used and you need to make a redundant professional setup. PSU broken? No problem, the secondary PSU kicks in. Change HDDs on the fly? No problem.
All that needs a good bunch of hardware (expensive) and also software configuration skills (chaning disks in a more or less running RAID array).
So it's electric power and HW costs.
You need a real broadband connection. At home. Depending on what your gaming protocol has to transmit.
This also leads to the question: Do you have synchronous up/downstream? And: What does your ISP do? Do the TOC allow "commercial" use? Can you estimate the monthly traffic?

Neutral:
You still need to care about safety, no matter what. Firewalls, honeypots, hardening and so on.

Pro:
You're in control.
It's in your house, and if something is wrong you have physical access at once.
You and your game's demand define HW and SW used for the server.


Hosting elsewhere:
Contra:
You still need to set up everything. But remotely. If you mess up, and forget to set a root's password, you're out.
If something fail you got to hope that people there will notice and fix it in time. Maybe they're pros and good at it, but maybe not.
If something fails otherwise, the enterprise goes bankrupt, the server is seized (cause 100 virtual machines and one was part of a police action) you're out. You can't reach your stuff anymore.
You are not in control over things. You never know what data people read, store, change during a transmit in the server farm. Maybe you won't spy on people, but what about the hosting provider? What about a privacy policy?

Neutral:
Security. Still, you have to take measures.

Pro:
Depending on the kind of server and service agreement, some work will be done by the hoster's empolyees. So you don't have to care for everything.
Bandwidth physically available (has to be paid for, though).
Traffic physically available (has to be paid for, though).
No HW cost, no need to care about redundant PSUs and such.


In general: As you said. It needs a server. And somebody caring for it, doing the administration, paying for stuff (HW or hosting fees, maybe also SW licenses). Somebody acting in case mischief is happening with the server and that somebody's got to be able to reach at least the SW within 24 hours.

P2P: Well, I guess it is used not even half as often as the server-client solution for networked games but... once implemented it would save you a lot of the server troubles. Moreover, it would probably work as long as there is TCP/IP and internet. So players could continue even if nobody was able / willing to pay / keep a server. I wonder how the first DOOM games worked. I'm quite sure we did not have a server landscape at that time. There were serial connections, modem connections and LAN.




> I only knew C at the time
Well, I can't really judge things that much but C is certainly a good thing. Yes, one's got to care for more things than some high level languages but it's more portable, more performant. AFAIK most of the Linux kernel is written in classic C.

Of course it's hard if you focused on an engine and then it's becoming obsolete and unsupported. Depends on the engine though, if it could still be used, but if it doesn't interact through a non-changing API/ABI abstraction layer with the OS or HW then it will be increasingly hard to adapt it to new operating systems and hardware.

In general: Networking surely is nice, but then, how many people would be there playing it? Don't want to be pessimistic, and I have no clue how much work it would be to implement all the networking stuff and how large the EQ community is. But would it be worth the trouble? Maybe check with a simpler, single-player design first. Gain experience and if there is good feedback and you still feel like it you can still work on networked multiplayer things. (I guess it's not just the pure network stack stuff, also directly ingame, you have to take care of triggers, can something be triggered only once by the first person, by multiple persons, not to mess up if a party of 4 people is walking a path and triggering something 4x.)
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