Design Notes

AQ3D's Interactive Objects

Posted by on 70 comments

"OMG... Do not pull that lever!"

Building good quests for a massively multiplayer game requires a lot more than just "Slay X of this type of monster." You want to go on quests where you need to pull a legendary sword from a stone. But the stone is actually the hand of a giant sized rock character who gets up and, while holding you in his other hand, talks to you about proper sword care and cleaning. You want to dive into trap filled dungeons with trap doors, riddle asking doors, secret walls... and fans of Castlevania 2 will naturally want to find a white orb thingy and randomly kneel down by the side of a cliff for a lengthy period of time until a whirlwhild magiclaly appears causing something AMAZING to happen. (OK, that last reference was pretty obscure.) To do this, we need to fill our world with interactive objects. Well named because they are objects that you can... um... interact with. In today's AdventureQuest 3D design notes we are going to talk about what Zhoom is coding. If you crave the secrets of game design, raise your finger and strike the "read more" button with great power.

What in the world is an "Interactive Object?"

Treasure chests, talking trees, levers, doors, non-player characters (NPCs), hidden buttons, pickable flowers -- in the world we are building for AdventureQuest 3D, anything you can click on, step on, or changes is called an interactive object. These objects are smart. They have the power to do, quite literally, anything. For example, we can make a lever, and if you pull it, it gives you one million gold. Or, we can make a button that catches your character on fire and permanently deletes your character eyebrows.

But the use of these interactive objects go far beyond being simple buttons. In fact, ANYTHING can be an interactive object. Even a dog. Perhaps the first time you see the dog, it snarls with anger at you. But then you go on a quest and save the dogs master. Now, the next time you see the dog (an interactive object) it is smiling, and wagging it's tail happily at you. Or, perhaps the dog is leashed by a mean and cruel master. You find a key and use it on the dog's leash. He runs off. The next time you come back, the dog is no longer there. This is a pretty basic example of how an interactive object can make the world a more real, living, breathing place.

I personally, like the idea of an entire castle being an interactive object. Well, maybe it would best be described as a bunch of internactive objects. Use a catapult and fire giant stones at the castle and see the walls get knocked down. Eventually, enough of the wall will be destroyed that you can walk inside the walls. The sky is the limit... literally. We can make the sky an interactive object and you can cast spells or do things that changes the sky.

"Server Side" Interactive Objects

Hackers everywhere are going "YES!!!! OMG let me take control of the interactive objects and destroy everything in the game! Mwahahahahahahahahahahaha" --  hackers have the awesomest evil laughs. Sadly, hackers will not be able to do this in AQ3D. Here is why:

All of the Interactive Objects live on the server. They cannot be modified by players. All you can do it "interact with it" or in other words.. use it. Everything the object does (opening a door, starting a fire, causing the sky to change) happens on the server and is then broadcasted to all of the other players in the game. It is amazingly simple and safe.

Coding this will probably take Zhoom the next two weeks. I asked if we could slip soundFX and a little bit of the new interface in while he was doing that and he said yes.

"Client Side" or "Only for you" Interactive Objects

If you are still reading, then you are really into game design. So, you might enjoy this. Not everything in the game needs to be bolted down and protected from hackers. Some things, are harmless, and should only be seen by character who triggers it. For example, an animated cutscene. You click a button, and your window fills up with an animated cutscene. It is pretty simple. It is also the perfect example of a client side interactive object.

There are so many uses for this it is mind boggling. So, here is one example: Remember the dog scenario from above? What if that was a quest that literally everyone could do? Well, it would be weird if you and 5 other people were all doing the exact same quest but someone already freed the dog. I mean, the first person who freed the dog would ruin the fun for everone else... because the dog would be gone for everyone. Right? Here is how you solve that issue. We make the dog one of these "Only for you" Interative Objects. So, if you are starting the quest, you would see the dog snarling at you. However, your buddy, who is further along in the quest and freed the dog already, sees nothing but an unchained leash. That is right. You are both looking at the same spot, but seeing different things depending on your quest progress.

It is a pretty crazy solution tha tneeds to be used with a lot of care. It would work in this scenario, because the dog is just a visual representation of your quest progress. For this to work, there could never be a time where both you and another player needed to see the dog, or interact with the dog together. If you did, then we should use other option, the server side interactive object, so all players see the same thing.

This is not anything new, we first starting using this game development trick nearly 10 years ago in the original AdventureQuest. When we started building our 2D MMO, AdventureQuest Worlds we found that there were a lot of times it made sense to do this. The best being the 1st Un-Live Event with Voltaire on Friday the 13th. We had over 30,000 players on that ship and Voltaire said something slightly different to you depending on your quest progress. (It REALLY made sense in that circumstance)

Another good use of this, is if you a quest to find 10 missing weapon fragments that are hidden all over the forest. If you walk around the map, you will see glowing weapon fragments that you can pick up. If another player walks around the map, they may see the weapon fragments, but because they are not on the quest, the fragments are not glowing and they are not allowed to pick them up. In this case, it is also being used as a visual indicator of what is going on.

Putting it all together 1+1 = 3

By using these two different types of Interactive Objects together, we can build a huge and ever changing world. We can make several towns full of non-player characters. Each character can have a motivation and visual look based on what you have done for (or to) them. The combined actions of players can cause the towns to have major things happen to them.... buildings get destroyed, major characters leave town and turn into villains... maybe entire towns get run over by monsters forcing the towns people out of the town. Meanwhile, at the King's Castle, the quests that are given depend on the status of all of these smaller towns. If the Kingdom becomes heavily weakened, it causes enemy invaders to seige the castle opening up entire new storylines. Honestly, the only limit is our combined imaginations.

Meanwhile... SoundFx

Zhoom said basic interactive objects will take about 2 weeks. So, he is going to squeeze in SoundFX while Minimal works on skills and character classes. I would like to have a SoundFX test later this week if possible. Check back tomorrow.

Sorry Comments are now closed for this post.
Shadow Ravena
Shadow Ravena: Sounds like an amazing idea artix. Whenever a game does this it really comes to life. It is sounds complicated. How far will you take this? Like some games, only a handful of NPC's? Or an ability to change the entire game over it, much like the choose-your-own-adventure books? The latter is undone, IIRC, in an MMO, and would be intriguing to see. Can't wait to see how you guys will use this is-game!
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Artix
Artix: I am really excited about this too. It is funny how two relatively simple features can make so much possible. You said something that really struck home... "A World Wide Choose Your Own Adventure." We sorta do this in our other games already... why not apply this concept to a 3D MMORPG? O_O
Fuzzyink
Fuzzyink: Yes yes yes yes! As storyline is the prime aspect of reason to play a game for me, I'm delighted to hear this :D I'm really eager to see what you people will pull us into this time :P It'd be even more awesome if player characters could have pets sorta like Black&White's Creature, learning from player's actions/choices and acting upon them.
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velc
velc: Wowzers this will be awesomesauce with a dab of awesomecaramel and awesomesprinkles. You guys seem do be pulling stuff from other games soon this will just be a moshpit hybrid urik-hi hybrid thing.so dragonfable yesssss
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Daxter
Daxter: What about using an idea like instances from Guild Wars 2 for client-side interactive objects? "An instance is a copy of a game area which is created and maintained by the server for use by a small group of players. Others who enter the same area are given their own copy of the same area so are not visible to other groups already in the same area. Guild Wars 2 is mostly persistent and only uses instances for certain content...Much of the personal story occurs in instances so the player can participate in a story where they are the hero."
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Artix
Artix: The options are really endless. Good story telling will definitely used a balanced combination of server-side and client-side interactive objects.
Locar
Locar: Speaking of interacive objects try and put into the game breakable objects like crates and barrals when you break them in quests you get money armor wepons or potions at random. Sometimes even nothing or a super rare wepon like the blinding light of destiny for a drop chance of like maybe 0.001.
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Damian_N.
Damian_N.: Stephano, pewdiepie, and I hate barrels .
Kvasir
Kvasir: I said somthing like this when you asked what things we would most like to see in the game. I personaly like the idea of the world changing due to the cumulative affects of the worlds players actions, if the monsters around a town go unchecked they multiply and eventually start raiding settlements, if an area has low footfall it becomes derelict. These are the kind of things that make the games seem more involving, like the world is real and not just a series of events that your character experiences. Changes around the world need to be gradual though, and not scripted, to make it seem real. If an area suddenly changes from one style to the other when your not looking it feels like your a bystander to the events of the game, not partaking in them.

I descovered somthing new about unity in the last test, if your proccessor cant handle animated gifs very well, it cannot handle unity. (laptops broken D:)
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BladeMaster
BladeMaster: When's the next Alpha test? c:
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Shadowyumyum
Shadowyumyum: Happy c:
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Rornan
Rornan: this looks awsome
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Colossus
Colossus: Sweeeeet! I mean, interactive objects are pretty familiar to many gamers, including myself. But, it's really cool to have it clearly defined. :) After all, lots of people including myself, like to claim to know about something but when asked a simple question like: What is *subject*? Speechlessness ensues. Looking forward to a very dynamic world that adapts to many of the changes and events in the world! Battle on!
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Artix
Artix: I know many players like you are very knowledgeable on the subjects I write about. Thank you for not minding that I write about these subjects in a very simple way to help those who are not as familiar with them.
Kindoo
Kindoo: Maybe you could do this, a castle is getting attacked by lets say Goblins, and use the meter bar up top and if we dont finish the bar in time, say 1 or 2 days the castle now gets turned into a Goblin castle and then we have to get it back again. Or you could do this, random attacks on towns, cities and or forts/castles and these go for an hour and if we fail, we loose the place and this would really make a thing happen a lot in the game, random attacks and if not enough players are online then were probably going too loose and if we have a lot of players on were going to win, then you could do this, a random amount of people in a group is allowed to attack a
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Kindoo
Kindoo: attack a Goblin fort and then if we win, it would become ours.
Hurricane150
Hurricane150: I made a swear I will not play any other game of AE until AQ3D!!! awesomeness interactive objects just like Runescape its PURE AWESOME!! but i hope that most of the game is only for members AQW was very small for non-members, so please try to separate them both ok?
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jacquesrune
jacquesrune: i am going to make two character:one good and one evil
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kargouel
kargouel: I like how the game is developing. Keep up the good work but really no permanent eyebrow delete. I like my character eyebrows...
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Pushkarr
Pushkarr: Classes = cool
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RubyCrystalRose
RubyCrystalRose: About things getting destroyed and dogs getting set free, could you put in quests to reverse the effects? Like to find the dog again or to rebuild destryed castle walls and such? Although since rebuilding reflects the state of kingdom, would the rebuilding of a house be a server side interactive object? So does that mean lots of people have to complete these quests to rebuild something in a war-meter like fashion?
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Artix
Artix: Absolutely. Your imagination is the only limit.
Necrosis
Necrosis: Does this mean there is going to be obbey stile game play? For example in Castlevania you have to crosse pits and clime ledgs whith out faling off or in the legond of zelda you can do back filps to avoid damig and clime on bildings by grabing ledgs. Will we be also able to recrot one or more npc's and mosters to fight by are side.
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Necrosis
Necrosis: sory for the tipo's. I meane (npc's or monsters).
Artix
Artix: You will be able to run around, lump over ledges and such -- but the goal of this game is not to be a platformer, but a fun combat oriented RPG.
Necrosis
Necrosis: Ok
cbprophet
cbprophet: This looks like it's going to be very interesting to play. Also I'm holding it to you to create a sword in the golem hand that lectures you on proper sword care.
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Artix
Artix: Quest Accepted.
Aeldira
Aeldira: I'm certain he knew people would expect that golem to be in the game before he posted the article *giggles*
Alpha
Alpha: AWESOME!!!! love the idea of "Interactive Objects."
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Gix_
Gix_: There will be trade between players in the game?
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808ruthless
808ruthless: I hope!
Vandor222
Vandor222: Please put pyromancer in as a class in the next testing even though it will go away I would like to have an idea of how awesome the transformation will be from 2D to 3D
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The Moglin Master
The Moglin Master: *Pushes the "read more button repeatedly with force* WHY IS IT NOT WORKING!?!?!?
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Necrosis
Necrosis: Artix, you should make a alpha Lycan class for alpha testers. When ever it moves it runs on all fours. Do you think you can do that?
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Necrosis
Necrosis: You should make an interactive class like rouge or nigas that can become invisable, hang from walls and acsese hiden rooms.And to add to my Alpha Lycan class, it can can detect invisable oponets.
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Necrosis
Necrosis: stelth last for 5 minets
JessicaDoe
JessicaDoe: I would love to see the code written for this game. I wonder what kind of programming language is being used to design this. I can feel this game is going to be a whole new level of amazing for the MMO community. *Rubs hands together in glee*
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Mater336
Mater336: is this game gonna be available for windows xp pls make it avilable for xp i beg you
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joker108
joker108: how to get to aqw3d?
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808ruthless
808ruthless: They haven't opened it up yet sorry!
SilvertheHordgeherrg
SilvertheHordgeherrg: I saw Castlevania 2 mentioned so I commented. Bless you.
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FudgeMuffin
FudgeMuffin: (I didn't type anything the first time...) I know that this is a long shot, but will we be able to talk, as in voice? I'm 100% certain that SOMEONE will say something messed up, but slow typists need this! By the time their message is written, the person that they're talking to has sent another message, and they have to delete their message and start over. :( It's not me in general, but I hate the 1-2 minute wait when waiting for the other person to finish typing... -.-
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iampancake
iampancake: I wouldn't like that. Then everyone will know i'm secretly a little kid.
eliminatorr
eliminatorr: But what if, and I believe this will happen at least once, tom-boy gets on, the Show us "them" or GTFO scenario turns up, they have no means of talking, using their voice, proving thier gender as they have no sound card or have no headset. And the messed up thing. That too.
Ernitis
Ernitis: Awesome, I really liked the idea about castles being seiged or villiges getting invaded! I wish you good luck and I already know you don't need it!
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808ruthless
808ruthless: Hey Artix could you possibly add in a Trade system between the players?
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Vaati
Vaati: AE don't like trade systems because of the player hackers :/ but trade is 97.3875% necessary in 3D Games ://
808ruthless
808ruthless: Artix can you add mounts into the game and could I help with testing the beta ?
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iampancake
iampancake: Alpha members should get either a unlimited member or something that makes them better then the other weaklings who waited for beta was on or over.
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9m694
9m694: you know what would be cool is if you made away to select multiple enemies, and attack them all at once. have your character turning, running around back and forth attacking, blocking and dodging selected enemies. make some attacks that hit who ever is in range.
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babyboi138
babyboi138: dude i remember waiting on "aqworlds" for the frist ever "alpha" test lol we all got on and every thing wus all missed up lol i mean all you seen wus the out lineing of things lol
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Cain
Cain: I read "Stroke the read more button"... I spent five minutes petting my screen. No wonder it didn't wooooork. Anyways, this looks like it'd be epic. Can't wait for the next test! Hope to be able to help.
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