Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
 
Making your dream MMORPG

Wolfshead recently wrote that "Most game designer have a secret video game project that they guard in their heart of hearts; designing a MMO was mine.", and sees that dream shattered by the failure of 38 Studios. I don't share his regret for the passing of Copernicus, as I have trouble believing that a company that badly managed could actually have produced a good game. But I do think that he is right that many people have a video game or MMORPG project in their head. Not just game designers, but also players and bloggers.

Everybody knows what he likes and doesn't like. From there to believing that you know what makes a good game is just a small step. If only you had a $100 million to realize it! I think the lesson of 38 Studios is that even with $150 million you could well fail to turn your dream into a dream game. Even if your idea is solid, managing a multi-million dollar project is extremely difficult, which is why the people who can do it are so well paid.

Of course I have my dream MMORPG too. But not only don't I have $100 million, I also have no experience whatsoever in running a company, nor do my programming skills go beyond Visual Basic. I'm not Notch. I've seen map editors that had me scratching my head instead of enabling me to produce something useful. So how could I ever make my dream game?

One thing I did is putting my idea out there, and hope that somebody else is taking it up. I published my idea for a trading card based MMORPG on my blog, and maybe somebody with money and talent will see it and take the idea up. Chances are slim, but probably still better than winning the lottery and making the game myself with the winnings.

My other dream game is actually already up and running. Only it isn't "massively multiplayer online", but instead a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for 6 people. Obviously a much diminished scope compared to making your own MMORPG, but well withing my means, both financial and talent-wise. It is good to have dreams, but one shouldn't let the impossibility of one's dreams stop one from actually doing something one can do, even if it is a lot smaller.

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