Player Asset Creation:
Assets used in the game that come from the players themselevs to expand the MMORPG world. The MMORPG Game system is modular (down many level to basic details) and additional PLAYER CREATED flavors of modules can be substituted for the initial set provided by the Game company - as the game goes on. Basic sets of all these will be company developer provided on World startup (initialization) The interchangeable modules are sized from chunks of building down to placed objects (signs and such), down to individual objects players pickup (with substituteable attributes like colors and textures and game mechanics attributes) :
The system allows in-game changes by players to rebuild many objects (and change sub-components) to customize things in the game. The Player Created Asset mechanism allows there to be quite alot more variations and even new objects that look and behave differently from what existed originally (company created). All of course is inspected by the company before being added to the game.
Types of assets:
Building block shapes and functionality (sub-object components slots like wall pannels)
- Basic 3D shape (mesh)
- Includes multiple looks/assemblies/pattern variations for the different states (wrecked/damaged/corroded/burned/new)
- Navmesh usually produced by a tool but player needs to check to see that its what they want and make changes if needed)
- Connection compatibility with other building blocks (standardized interface surfaces ie- doorways) - their often is a subsetof intended similar blocks built to match each other. These are essentially rules for how the building blocks get assembled together used by the auto-genration process on the server.
- Placement cues for prop objects (on floor/walls/ceilings
Alternate/variety textures for visual look of object/NPCs. Differing surface appearances. Includes clothing patterns (very popular in MMORPGs).
- Small snippets for NPC exclamations (including additional splicer ones) and causal NPC interactions (GTA-like crowds of figures)
- Vignettes (longer back and forth between NPCs) that players get to watch
- The more voice variations available the less repetitive the situations in the games sound.
Interactive Dialogs for city NPCs (friendlies - vendors, quest givers and such) - combination of text responses, if-then logic (based on player responses and on situational factors) Tree within tree (reuse of same tree on duplicate logic paths). Queueing of NPC actions/sounds/animations, modifications of items (ex- transfer to players inventory, or picking something up )
Behavior scripting of NPCs (including coordinating player 'team' NPCs). This would be the most complicated creations but would do the most to make NPCs 'come alive'. Splicers who use more varied tactics would give players more of a challenge and having different ones use different mixes of tactics so the player cannot predict
Client side AI scripting modules (helps server by offloading processing). Since there are alot of actions that 'Team' NPCs can do (and can coordinate as a group) theer are lots of oportunities for improving Basic AI.
3D Objects (props) - object that is independant of the terrain can be manipulated seperately (ie- a crate, tin of meat, a chair, etc...) -- also interchangeable decorations for building surfaces to offer options in theme. Clothing items are 'layover' objects that have shapes/textures and also adjust size to match figure variances.
Music - playable on various devices or used for TV/Radio/Public Announcement
Fonts - sub-Asset used to create other things like signs and used for various readable documents. You would want many different ones to keep things from looking repetative and there would be specialized ones like letter/digit patterns for Neon signs, etc...
Assembling groups of props into appropriate groupings to make them simpler to substitute as a group by an auto-generation program that would also ajust positioning (fitting) to placements.
Quest creation. Mini-plots which quest NPC characters to play the roles. Target destinations placed on the fly at an appropriate location matching the theme of the plot. Variations. Text story (amusing/interesting details around the basic plot).
Minigames (tablet friendly) activities that tie in with the main game. Frameorks would be provided that tie into server and game would be created from 2D tiles/texture objects and scripting that defines the minigames mechanics.
Data defining the minigames scenarios would be another sub-asset addable/modifiable to have different levels of difficulty or just variations to not be repetitive.
A critical feature of these creations is making them able to take sub-component substitutions so that details and themes can be varied easily in both look and behavior. Too many modular systems have too few options and very quicky become boringly repetitive. At each level of complexity there should be more options of substitutions - the assets are therefore 'templates' that can be resued to quickly generate many variations and customized adaptions for specific instances. Basic templates would be created by the company (they would have to do this anyway to have an interchangeable component model work even if they developed everytrhing in-house) as starting examples for players to work from.
The players have magnitudes more imagination (and time) than the game company employees to generate this stuff and you need constant new content to keep MMORPG players from quitting when theyve already done the same thing too many times. This 'Player Created Asset' system taps into that imagination/knowhow/effort to be able to achieve that.
Tools needed for player asset creation :
Online publishing mechanism to pull assets to the players computer and to push them back for inspection/reuse/improvements/vetting - includes search and summary to allow player to choose from available existing and WIP assets. Easy to use online methods are needed to facilitate collaboration processes.
NOTE - players themselves often can create VERY useful tools (and tool modules) beyond what the company might provide. They need to know the exact specifications of the data formats and how the Game Engine uses the data.
Format Converters - data converters to game specific asset formats (from commercial tool import formats)
Texture Editor - common 2D pixel editing (many tools available)
3D object editor - import mesh and selection of textures, assign properties for alternate states, test views in various lighting situations. More complicated objects have component parts/repair diagrams(for crafting) and behaviors(what they do when activated)
Asset viewers - display/activate assets in the same way used in the game
Script editor/IDE for scripting language used by Game engine - include documentation of libraries. This includes not only the actual script instances for specific object creation, but also for template routines (library subroutines that can be used by other players), and for entire behavior modules that can be substituted (different NPCs do different things and have different actions they take)
Dialog Editor/Tester - dialog data includes script snippets so would tie into the script language editor/IDE. Allows player to test all tree path options of the NPC interaction dialog trees and verify proper dialog output and queue actions/animations/destures and player interactions. Specifying situation factors to test reactive variation logic would be part of the testrig.
Music editors (midi style as well as mpg quality) - numerous commercial and free ones are avaiable using common data formats.
Sound recording/editing for voice acting and sound effects.
Particle effect editor (things like explosions, leaks and fires etc..)
Game format 3D Editor (usually the most customized as it matches the game engine precisely - can import data from other tools)
Commercial 3D editors (can make up for deficiencies/minimal features of any company ctreated "Game format 3D Editor", many players have much higher proficiency in existing 3D and 2D tools)
Figure Animation Editor (animation formats are also most customized data format specific to Game Engine used) creates the figures human motions for a particular action/gesture. These are invoked by the behavior scripting to play out the motions the NPCs and players fcharacter figures make. Animals/plants and animated machines similarly have animations created to have proper motions for their moving parts. Appropriate sound effects are paired with these animations.
Minigame Test tool that would assemble the minigame scripts with the assets and scenario data to run the game for testing (including simulating the games interaction with the main server).
Some of these tools have to be custom made to match the game engine customizations and would be done for internal development anyway. So expanding them and idiot-proofing them (for ease of use by players) would be the additional work (wouldnt be creating everything from scratch to implement this 'Player Created Asset' system).
Some players have the 'expert level' skill to do any needed complex/difficult scripting/programming, while others would use the previously made templates and substitute the appropriate sub-components and choose/apply options/modes/tweak coefficients/textures to vary the objects when building instances to add to the game. Most anyone could edit a texture (ever use MSPaint??) to make an already skinned object look somewhat different. The few experts create difficult things useable/modifiable by the many. Others come along look at what other players have produced and add their own improvements to their copy. And in the game itself that large assortment of 'good'/'best' objects thus created are moved about and placed flexibly in the game world, and anyone can do that.