Author Topic: Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project  (Read 605 times)

HadesKane

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Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project
« on: February 10, 2017, 06:17:47 pm »
I've been back and forth on whether to post this here for years... but I think its time.

Have any of you ever heard of a MUD?  Its an acronym that stands for Multi-User Dungeon (or Dimension in some circles).  Its basically the (normally) text-based predecessor to the modern MMO (a direct enough successor that one of the first widely popular MMOs, Everquest, had some controversy surrounding whether it had been derived directly from a MUD).

I have been working on a MUD named End of Time for over a decade, whose theme is Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger/Cross (with some minor Seiken Densetsu influence).  Through a significant chunk of its development, the Chrono influence was minor, but in recent years especially, Chrono's fingerprints are seen throughout almost every part of the game (I will get more specific to this point after a little bit about the game).

Essentially what we have aimed to do with End of Time is to create a game that plays like a hybrid between a traditional MUD and classic JRPGs.  We have a text based overworld map (original design) that links together the areas in the vein of a classic JRPG.  The areas themselves within the game are mostly based on / derived from the games we've based the theme on, but we've tied them all together along with numerous story elements into an overall original story that weaves plot points and history from the game into a cohesive world.

For example, both Lavos from CT and Jenova from FF7 have existed within our game world, but in the interest of tying the world and history together into something cohesive and sensible, within the lore of our game Jenova was a particularly powerful "Lavos Spawn".  Additionally, not only does this tie Sephiroth, the reunion, the northern crater, and Shin-Ra into being under the inlfuence of Lavos, there are other things we have tied together such as Shin-Ra basing much of their early technology on things they found in Zealian ruins.  The concept of magicite from FF6, Fayth and their "dreams" from FFX, and the studies of Enhasa (City of Dreams) all form a coherent and cohesive narrative within the game.  As far as the political / geographical make up of the world, a Kingdom like Guardia exists, but has grown to encompass and have annexed the Kingdoms of Baron (from FF4) and Karnak (FF5) among others.  In designing the game and picking / choosing what to include and what not to, the primary concern has been what fits what we already have, what fits where we want to go, and what makes for the most coherent and cohesive world and gameplay experience.  We don't put things in just for the sake of having them or in some misguided attempt to "have it all".  Also, its important to note that with respect to the events of the games that have made it into our history, our timeline puts us at an average of 30 years past any events from the games, so the majority of the characters from the games are a non-issue in most parts of the world.

Along with world design, concept, history, etc., there has been a meld of game systems from across the theme spectrum as well.  We have 9 races you can select at creation and 4 "base" classes.  In the vein of Seiken Densetu 3, once you reach a certain point (level 50) you can "promote" your class to a light, dark, or neutral specialization of the class, and while we have the game currently capped at level 79, once level 80 and beyond content is released, you'll be able to have yet another light, dark, or neutral promotion choice.  Our magic system is influenced from a wide array of sources, from Magic: the Gathering, the Grandia series, earlier Final Fantasy games, and of course Chrono Trigger & Cross.  Each player upon creation chooses elemental affinity, and there is a "room elemental field" akin to Chrono Cross that plays a substantial role in magic casting.  We have a full "merits and flaws" system that is part of character creation that is largely inspired by White Wolf's Vampire: the Masquerade.  Character customization and uniqueness is a huge aim of our's.

I could rattle on forever about the numerous features and whatnot, but I'll focus more specifically on the Chrono influence.

The name is first indicator, End of Time.  When you create, the starting zone for the game which includes the new player tutorial is in fact the End of Time.  Gaspar greets you and helps get you started.  Once you choose your path based on your familiarity with MUDs in general and End of Time specifically, you proceed through the tutorial (unless you choose EoT veteran).  Once through, you reach Spekkio who acts as the zone's healer, teacher, advisor, etc.  North of Spekkio you'll find a 3 x 3 grid of portals that lead to various, self-contained zones specifically designed for newbie tutorial.

Upon coming into the game, you'll be presented with race and class options.  Of our 9 races, two are very specifically Chrono based: Robot & Reptite.  In the vein of tying things together, we have also tied our "Guado" race (from FFX) to be the direct, modern descendants of those from Zeal that interbred with the Earthbound.  Human and Beast are also options that could arguably tie into Chrono.  Human is obvious, but Beast is somewhat of a generic "monster-type" that is open to a lot of interpretation (although in the near future, we will be adding sub-race options based on Hometown, of which Mystic will be one of the race's options).

As mentioned previously, you select your elemental affinities which is directly inspired from Chrono.  Character creation is wrapped up by selecting your hometown, which once you pass the newbie school, this is your starting location within the "real world".  We have three starting locations which represent a major city within one of our major three world governments, one of which is Truce representing the Kingdom of Guardia.  The entirety of the northn Zenan kingdom is represented, with Truce, Leene Square, Guardia Forest, Guardia Castle, and Guardia Dungeon (with a quest that mirrors the events in the game almost perfectly).  Truce Canyon is one of those self contained newbie zones in the portal room of the End of Time, and in our world, the Cathedral has survived into modern times and rests in the same relative position it did in 600 AD.

At present, Chrono based areas represent about 20% of our total game world (32 areas out of 158).  This, however, understates the importance those areas have, as Chrono based areas (with tend to be built more in clusters than the other themed areas) occupy some of the most important roles in the game.  As mentioned, Guardia Kingdom is 1 of 3 major (player ran) world powers, and these world powers are enormous and both immensely powerful and important to the structure of the world geographically, socially, and politically.  The Acacian Dragoons are also a significant force within the structure of the world.  While not individually as powerful as the three major governments, they represent the single most lethal and effective fighting force for their size.  The world is arranged in a manner where the major political forces are separated on different continents, with the social and literal center of the world representing mostly unaligned territories.  Each of the three major governments have a port city on this grouping of islands known as the Trade Isles, and while they retain governance over those cities, the entirety of the Trade Isles are under the influence and protection of the Dragoons.  Termina, Viper Manor (along with the Hydra Marsh and Shadow Forest) rest in the center of the Trade Isles.  It is said that individually, a government could take the Dragoons, but given a situation in which two governments are opposing one another, the Dragoons could tip the scale easily in one direction or another.  They tend to serve as the enforcement of treaties that fall under their supervision, and each of the governments are bound by treaty to come to the aid of the Dragoons if another government were to attack.  So yeah, Chrono is heavily influential in the world structure.  Later in the game, it is revealed that the Kingdom of Zeal did in fact survive, and it exists in its entirety in the game and is perhaps the single most important crucial cluster of areas later in the game.  Not only did we create the entire Kingdom, it also encompasses the unreleased / unfinished material from the pre-release (specifically the Dungeon in the Castle and the North Palace under the sealed pyramid).

As far as a specific list of areas, this is what we have in the game so far:
End of Time, Town of Truce, Leene Square, Guardia Forest, Guardia Castle, Guardia Castle Jail, Cathedral, another End of Time zone that handles the class promotion quests, Heckran Cave, Forest Maze, Reptite Lair, Giant's Claw, Ocean Palace, Denadoro Mountains, an overworld Kingdom of Zeal map, Enhasa, Kajar, Zeal Palace, Zeal Palace Dungeon, Blackbird, Sun Palace, North Palace, Termina, Viper Manor, Shadow Forest, Hydra Marshes, Fossil Valley, Isle of the Damned, Marbule, Arni Village, Divine Dragon Falls, & Fort Dragonia.

There is a very long, several area quest, too, that involves having to get the two different pieces of the Dragon Tear (tear of hate, tear of love) for different uses, but ultimately can be combined to form the Dragon Tear which is the mechanism by which Zeal can be accessed through Fort Dragonia.  Also, sealed chests and doors are scattered about, as Schala's pendant is accessible early game in an uncharged state.  Along with Gaspar, Melchior and Belthasar have notable presences in the game.

There's so much Chrono stuff in the game!  Its also important to note that practically ever major event from Chrono Trigger up to the end of that game is represented in the history of our world.  Of all of the games that feed into our theme, no single game has as much of a complete history representation as Chrono Trigger, nor does any other game (even collectively) have as much influence on the history of our world dating back any further than 200 - 300 years.

Oh, I also somehow forgot to mention earlier... we have dual / triple (and more) techs implemented and working as well.

Moving forward, the Chrono influence is set to only further grow.  From a game system standpoint, the final "dark" Mage class is actually called a "Magus" and numerous things from the various abilities across the characters are represented in both racial and class skills.  Right now we have the vast majority of our "overworld" complete, but in the vein of Final Fantasy 4, we will be eventually opening an "underworld" and even the moon, both of which are going to rely heavily on Chrono areas.  Specifically with the underworld, it is going to be heavy with the prehistoric areas as many of those would fit the harsh, fiery world below the surface of the planet.  At least 17 additional Chrono areas are planned for the underworld (practically every prehistoric area that was added in the DS version) along with at least a couple other in other misc spots.  Our game world will be solidly over 25% Chrono by this point.  As far as the Moon goes, we intend on using a lot of the ruined future areas, as the dome and underground type area structures in a harsh, mostly dead environment would be a great fit.

I've probably sold its Chrono influence as much as I can without going on and on too much more.  It isn't a pure Chrono project, but it has so much Chrono influence I believe that it belongs listed among other Chrono fan projects.  It has well over 10 years of quality work into it, and I wanted to share it with this community.

No other single site has been as helpful toward the growth of End of Time than Chrono Compendium has been, as this has become the definitive source for reference on background and history, and has even been the place I have used for screen shots and area images for building and describing the areas from Chrono that we have used.

Our website is a bit bare and ugly, I've spent far more time working on the game than the site, but you can access more comprehensive information on the game at:

http://www.eotmud.com

The primary source for MUD information and other MUDs can be found at:

http://www.mudconnector.com

One may use telnet to connect to the game, but a dedicated MUD client such as "MUSHclient" is highly recommended.  You use the host "eotmud.com" and the port "4000" to connect.  It can be located at:

http://www.gammon.com.au/downloads/dlmushclient.htm

There is also a pretty good web-based MUD client on another MUD resource site (MUD Portal), and the direct link to connect to End of Time is here:

http://www.mudportal.com/listings/by-genre/hack-slash/item/end-of-time

Lastly, here are additional pages and information on which you can find more information on the game:

http://www.facebook.com/eotmud

http://www.mudconnect.com/mud-bin/adv_search.cgi?Mode=MUD&mud=End+of+Time

I'll do my best to check back here and engage in any discussion or questions about it.

Also, its important to keep in mind that at the moment, our userbase has dwindled down considerably.  We go through seasonal up and down swings and we are in a significant down swing at the moment.  One of the biggest draws to these types of games tends to be the social aspect and atmosphere of playing alongside other players.  We aren't a ghost town, but there's a 50/50 chance if you log in that there will be other people playing.  I'm posting this both in the hopes of raising general awareness about our game among a community that would likely appreciate the amount care and work put into it, and to hopefully draw more people to both my game and the MUD genre as a whole.

I am known as "Diablos" on the game.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 06:24:06 pm by HadesKane »

Razig

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Re: Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 10:43:13 pm »
Sounds pretty cool. My main question is: how does leveling up work?

Are stat gains randomized, meaning you can end up with, say, a lousy hit point base which necessitates rolling up a new character and hoping RNG smiles on you this time around?

Or are the gains fixed, meaning you are rewarded for persistence rather than luck?

I ask because in my experience most MUDs use the former method, which always left a bad taste in my mouth when I realized that my character would end up being worthless, yet I had already spent too much time on him to simply abandon him.

HadesKane

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Re: Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2017, 01:51:22 pm »
Glad to see some interest :)

There isn't much randomization in any aspect of our leveling system.

Characters have 4 "core" stats (PWR, WIL, AGI, VIT) along with HP and MP.  When you level, you gain "AP" which can then be spent between core stats and learning new skills.  Core stats cost 10 AP to increase while increasing skills you already know or are a class default is 1 AP and goes up a percentage based on your WIL.  If you are picking up a skill you don't already know, that costs 10 AP for the initial pick-up.  AP gain per level is a base of 10, plus AP based on your level, and there is a modifier based on your class for the chance to "roll" an extra AP for that level gain, which is the randomization I spoke of, but the end result in differences for a character with a high vs. a low roll over the course of their character is only slight, and there are other ways to compensate for low stats and even lower AP gain (I didn't mention in my previous post that many of the sealed chests have tabs like in CT, a handful of which give additional AP).

HP is derived directly from a combination of your VIT and level, while MP is derived directly from a combination of your WIL and level.  There is no randomization here at all, and increasing VIT or WIL does give full retroactive bonuses to HP/MP when they are increased.

Its also important to note that the stats have no effective stat cap.  They can't be raised beyond 255, but using every available method of AP gain, its actually impossible to get even a single stat to that, so this really helps a character steer toward whatever play style they prefer.  We even have had a few Mages pump into physical stats and use their buffs (like fast and giant strength) to further maximize their physical capabilities.

As far as the "oh crap, I've invested a lot of time into my character and I realize now it sucks" concern... we have an optional "respec" system in place which (under normal circumstances) a player has 3 respecs available to them throughout the life of their character.  When you create, you have until level 20 for a no-cost respec, which will pull 5 points out of each of your core stats in exchange for 200 AP that you can redistribute anyway you would like.  Another respec is available at both class promotions (level 50-55 & level 80-85), which will also pull 5 out of each core stat, but you are given 175 AP to use however you'd like (the 25 AP less is considered the "cost" for the respec).  We are also considering and will likely implement a system by which a player can delete a character and apply some percentage of that character's experience into an advantage for the new character, whether it be a reduction in the amount of EXP needed to level for a certain time or an increase in EXP gained.  This is still in the brainstorming stages, though, but we are sympathetic to the concern of someone feeling like they've wasted their time on a character.  I suspect the respec option will go a long way toward keeping that to a minimum, however.

xcalibur

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Re: Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 09:38:51 am »
sounds like you've got alot of good ideas, especially the overall world design.

HadesKane

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Re: Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 03:16:48 pm »
Thanks!

Speaking of overall world, here are two maps that chart out the majority of our towns and dungeons (the ones accessible from the map, many are accessible within other areas).

I chose the color coded one here to show the three major government territories (gold is Guardia, red is The Empire, blue is Shin-Ra)


There are more dungeons accessible from the world map than are represented here.  Specifically where you may notice the Moonlight Forest to the east, that is considered the last "mapped" edge of the explored frontier in that region of the world.  Several areas exist beyond that point, leading past Mt Denadoro and to where Fort Dragonia is located (the roundish mountain range directly south of where Moonlight Forest is).  Likewise, the areas past Bone Village / Sleeping Forest are considered to be unmapped, but they follow the same route of areas from FF7 on through to the Northern Crater (Mt. Gagazet is located in that range of areas, as well, and we have all of that complete up to Icicle Inn, still have Great Glacier and the crater itself to complete).


Of course, those are just photoshop created maps for reference.  And since I'm talking about maps, here are some shots of the actual world map.

This is an example of how navigating the map looks in motion:


The map goes through day/night cycles along with the rest of the game:


And this is a larger "screenshot" type of image of the entirety of the Zeal map, although in-game there is sky/cloud representation in the "black" areas between the continents that also change depending on the time of the day (in fact, this is the only region of the game that goes through an "hourly" visual change as the sun rises and sets).  The "view" of the map is similar in size to the ones shown below, but this just shows the overall view.


This is the actual view of Zeal on the eastern edge of the main continent with the daytime / sunset / nighttime / sunrise effect animated.  I just took three frames from each just to illustrate, this doesn't represent how frequent or proportionally how long each color palette lasts in relation to one another.


Fort Dragonia on to Zeal is the culmination of years worth of work, and is among my proudest accomplishments area-wise on the game, so I'm happy to be able to show some of this off to others that I know are as enthusiastic about the Chrono series as I am :)

Summit

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Re: Text Based, Online, Multiplayer Fan Project
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2017, 07:59:30 am »
Your information is very good.