[vworld-tech] Ultimate MMO Platform (was OT:Dead?)

Megan Fox shalinor at circustent.us
Wed Mar 31 10:09:53 PST 2004

> What I'm thinking about is the platform that supports MMOs beyond the
> current EQ/graphical-mud-on-steriods games and heads towards a SnowCrash
> metaverse.

Aaah, good, I'm not the only one designing for that sort of case ;)

> So, ball rolling. PUSH!


Everything should be structured about widgets, these widgets themselves
composed of sub-widgets.  A tree should be a form, which includes the
material wood, the attachments leaves, and so on.  The wood surface should
know how to respond to impacts (what sounds to play, what scar graphics to
use, that sort of thing), the leaf object should know how to blow in the
wind and fall to the ground and turn colors in fall, and the tree object
should know how to deal with the wood surface and where to place leaf
objects of the specified type.  The tree might add some additional branch
sway logic on top of the leaf blow logic.

AI should be designed to operation with this sub-components, the idea being
that the AI can then respond to any number of complex objects made up of the
same components.  A truck has a steering wheel and a driver's seat, which
the NPC knows how to use - this same steering wheel and driving seat can be
found in a sports car, a dump truck, or a bus.  Once the NPC is in the seat,
you might strap some extra AI logic over top the NPC's base logic depending
on the surrounding object (a bus driver might know it should stop for
pedestrians at stops, a police car driver would know how to look for crime
and drive aggressively, etc)... though the secondary AI might not be the
greatest idea, as you want the base NPC's personality to define the behavior
(a criminal shouldn't look for crime when they steal the cop car, they
should drive like a bat out of hell and run people over).

Likewise, an NPC wood cutter might know to look for any natural-type objects
of type wood to harvest.  He wouldn't harvest a wooden house because it's
man-made (or maybe he would, if he was desperate, heh), and wouldn't harvest
a fossilized tree because it isn't made of wood.

... granted, this is a vast, vast over-simplification, but this is why I see
a strong entity system at the core of any system designed to simulate an
environment properly.  A system that allows the addition of future behavior
and interactions between entity or component types without touching the base
interface - that everything is made up of components, and entities know how
to respond to certain entity types or components, with entity type often
being defined by the components attached.

Or were you looking for something more grounded in what current tech is
likely to handle?  The above system can be simplified and added to over the
course of time, but the examples given were high-end.

-Megan Fox

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