DMsGuild
  1. #1

    FGII and others but...

    Hello all.

    what started out as a search for a fantasy map making program led me to Battlegrounds which led me to this program. I am really amazed at how well these VT programs look. Of all the ones I looked at tonight I'd say the following were the ones that really stood out.

    FGII
    Battlegrounds
    D20PRO
    (Not necessarily in that order)

    I'm kind of stuck on which system to get. I like the way BGs looks, but FGII seems to have even nicer graphics. The screenshots of FGII just have that old school feel.

    Anyhow, while researching these programs I got to thinking. How amazing would it be if there was a program or programs like FGII and BGs, but weren't just VT systems, but actual complete Miniature based computer role playing games. No GM/DM, the computer handles all that just like in regular computer role playing games. I then started jotting down some features that such a program might include that would really blow the doors off of computer role playing. You know, now that I am thinking about it, I guess it would be like FGII meets the old online MUDs.

    Anyhow, I'd like to list the features that I think would go great with such a program. Perhaps there is even one out there already. If so please let me know.

    [Features]

    1. Imagine a graphical layout and design similar to a program like Battlegrouns or FGII.

    2. A fully playable game system. No need for a GM or DM to run the adventure.

    3. Ability to create your own adventures including the ability to create new spells, items, npcs, quests, treasures, monsters, etc...

    Similar or same abilities to make your own maps, or areas as in the VT programs.

    5. Ability to import new art, tokens (miniatures), maps, etc... into the system

    6. The ability to modify the rulesets, as it appears can be done in FGII.

    Now for the stuff that really would get me excited.

    7. A Client/Server version that would allow the server op or GM to host his own server with multiple adventures available for players to select and enjoy.

    I don't know if a MMORPG type server would be possible, but perhaps the server could host between 1 and 16 or 1 and 32 clients at once. Of course not all of those players would necessarily be in a single adventure. They could be spread out across many adventures hosted on a single server or multiple nested servers. Also, the server op could limit the amount of total connections to help adjust lag issues, etc...

    8. Players would create accounts and then log in with the client. Once in the lobby of the server the players could select which adventure they wish to play.

    8a. In the lobby players could also chat with each other to try and see if anyone else on the server might want to join them in a game. Of course once in an adventure, those players would not hear/read the chatting that goes on in the lobby. Each adventure would have its own separate chat.

    9. Customizable Online Adventure settings may include:

    Min/Max # of players allowed in a specific adventure at one time.

    Single player, Single Group only, or Multiple players/groups in the game at the same time.

    Level limit restrictions. So a GM could set an adventure for players level 1-3 and only players with characters within those levels could join that particular adventure.

    10. The server would have the ability to save a players character so they could carry it over to the next adventure.

    I could picture the adventure select screen as looking like an open book with chapters. Each chapter might be for a specific set of adventures. Ex: Adventures for characters Lv 1 - 3, 4-7, etc.. Solo Adventures, Single Group Adventures, Multiplayer open-play Adventures, etc...

    11. High score or top 10 type lists that might display highest level characters. Characters whove completed the most adventures, etc... This data could also be pushed out to a web server to display on a website.

    12. Website stats and info such as whether the server is online or not, how many players are on the server currently, what adventures are in play, high score lists, etc...

    Personally, I always enjoyed the ability to host a game server and to allow others to join my server and experience the games I had to offer. A client/server game system similar to tabletop roleplaying and the ability to create your own stories and then have others login and enjoy your work is really a favorite topic to me. Hence all the ideas regarding multiplay or online server ability.


    Well, I'm sorry for rambling on so much, but the ideas just kept coming to me. If a program with the features I listed above existed, I bet it would be one popular program. I don't know how difficult it would be to program such a game, but seeing these VT programs makes me say "Some people have gotten really close to the idea." I mean a VT program is almost halfway there to being all of the above.

    If a program like the one I described does, exist please let me know and include a link if possible.

    Overall I think a program like I described with an interface and graphical look similar to FGII would really be a perfect combination.


    Thanks for reading all this. LOL

    John

  2. #2
    I think that might be more work than you expect, but it is a great idea. It seems to me the short way of saying what you're describing is one of those old RPGs that were basically single-user MUDs, only with a graphical interface. Personally I really like the RP aspect that can only come from having a GM running things (consider: most text-based MUDs still have GMs/Immortals to keep things smooth and often to run special events) but I'm sure it would be a lot of fun nonetheless.

    I'm certainly not aware of anything exactly like what you're describing, but I can offer some suggestions of things that do exist and are along those lines:

    1) Dungeons and Dragons Online actually plays a lot like how you've described, even though when you look at it point-by-point it's not that similar. Having played, though, I can say your description had a very similar "feel" to the DDO experience. Quite a different type of MMORPG to most of the other offerings out there, fun, and worth a look.

    2) Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has tremendous support for modding and a great modding community, and everything from making adventures for plugin to the normal game to creating an entirely new world is well-supported. The former is somewhat similar to this: create a new adventure, post it on one of many ES:O mod sites, and if people like the description they can download and play it. Of course it will tend a lot more toward action than what you describe (as would DDO, though not as badly in that case), and unfortunately Oblivion is single player only

    3) Neverwinter Nights 2 is insanely customizable, even moreso than Oblivion, and could get very close to what you're describing. Don't have it myself but I know you can create custom worlds, adventures, storylines, items, etc., and that people have and are already doing so. Support for setting up a server for such things is built in, I'm pretty sure multiple clients are supported, and I believe you can actually build a world and then set the players loose to do as they will, either on their own, cooperatively, in parties, w/e they choose. If you're really interested in something like this, you might want to look into NWN2.

    4) MUDs are actually still around, though they're becoming rarer and rarer as the focus of most gamers shifts to MMOs. Luckily, the mediocre ones tend to be the ones that die off, so many that are still around are excellent, and though graphical interfaces are uncommon, they do exist to an extent. Finding a good MUD, or even building one yourself or with some colleagues, would give a lot of the features you're talking about. This might actually be the best option if you're truly interested in getting such a project going: my guess is with a couple good programmers an already-existing MUD engine could be modified to interact with a customized client that would include, say, a .PNG-fueled map of the room you're in complete with tokens for you, your party, enemies, treasure, etc. Another upside to this option is that the people who do the "heavy lifting", creating creatures, adventures, areas, buildings, items, etc., referred to as "builders", don't need nearly as much expertise to be effective, and it might not be too hard to recruit a sizable force of them. This is also the "best option" in my opinion as, though it would take a good deal of work and ambition, making exactly what you describe should be a very reachable goal.

    As far as modifying a VTT like FG or BG to do this, I'm guessing it's possible but would be very work-intensive and difficult, and probably wouldn't be an attractive option for someone who wants to do such a project.

    In summary: Great idea, as far as I know hasn't been done exactly this way yet, you might want to look into Neverwinter Nights 2 and MUDs as options that are close/could be worked on.

    * Disclaimer: IANAP (I am not a programmer) so this may be somewhat off, anyone who knows better please do correct me *

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