I know that the posts I make specifically asking for feedback don’t get very much, and the ones I don’t necessarily need or want feedback on get the most, but I’m asking you… No. I’m begging you! Please read this and leave a comment. It’s important. Not… Life or death, but it’s still important. Actually, maybe I should ask that you please not leave a comment, then I’ll have a whole bunch! But anyway!
One of the things I’ve wanted to do since I’ve even known computers existed is to make a game. I grew up with text games, and that’s what I wanted to make. There’s something attractive with a game that plays like a book. You issue text commands, and text appears in response. You read it, and so much is left up to your imagination. I love text games, and I’ve wanted to make one for a very long time.
Okay, so then I eventually discovered that modems could dial into other computers and display a bunch of text information. These Bulletin Board Services provided a new breed of text adventure games. Games that you could play like you could Zork or Adventure or Terror in the Ice Caverns… Only with people, and with a battle system. Hit points and magic points and weapons and armor. The first computer role-playing games. Love at first sight. Unfortunately, these BBSes usually only had a single telephone line, so you couldn’t actually play with other people directly.
This is where the internet allowed for another evolution of text games. Massively multiplayer online TEXT games. Multiple people log in and everyone can see each other and you interact directly with other players! Perfect! Another case of love at first sight, and my mind was made up. No longer did I want to make a text adventure game, I wanted to make a text MMO.
My favorite game system is, by far, CircleMUD, but, sadly, as I began to finally get serious about designing my own game, I ran into some interesting, legally questionable licensing issues with the original CircleMUD and DikuMUD licenses, and I decided to begrudgingly scrap my ideas and forget about it. The licenses prevented me from doing exactly what I wanted to do. I absolutely loathe games that profess to be free, but if you decide to pay, they’ll give you an edge over the other players. I didn’t want that, but I also decided that I could put up a little donation button to help with server fees and the like, but then I read the license and they prevent that. If you use CircleMUD, you can’t charge and you can’t accept donations, for the game or the server. A thread on the official mailing list brought this up and the community was split over it and didn’t mind giving the smackdown to people who disagreed with them. I decided to forgo CircleMUD and it’s community drama.
But… Then, after a while, I started getting indoctrinated with the intricacies of Java and how amazing it was. (Thanks to TW.) And I decided to attempt to write my own online text game engine, free of any licensing issues, and I could correct all the weird quirks of CircleMUD and every other game I’ve played. I could do anything, and look at the best of all the worlds I’ve seen, and learn from their mistakes.
So after that little bit of history, I have something to ask anyone who’s reading this:
If you were looking at text games to play, what would you want in one? What features? Do you like a lot of races? A lot of classes? A huge world? Roleplaying? Player versus player combat? Quests? Immersive descriptions? Strict rules? No rules? Political systems? Active storyline? Whatever comes to mind, I would appreciate it if you could list whatever you’d personally want in an online text game, and I do mean anything. Don’t assume I already know what features I’d need, because, like I told Edrick, I only know what the fundamentals are for myself. What you expect in a game is going to be different than mine. So by all means, share your opinions. As they say in the book writing business… The best book is a book that you share and ask for feedback and see what people like and dislike and maybe correct anything that needs correcting.