Statements regarding the MMORPG under development (I - V)

Thursday, 27 June, Year 5 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

I. Real Cash Economy. In general all base loot value in game currency will equal player expenditure (in decay and other costs) related to acquiring that loot. So for instance if you go hunting with a bow, shoot 10 BTC worth of arrows and spend 3 BTC repairing your gear you should see loot nominallyi worth aboutii 13 BTC, on average. If you start making chairs out of planks of wood, after having spent 10 BTC worth of planks and run down your various tools worth 3 BTC you should see about 13 BTC worth of chairs.

This means that anything and everything of value in the game universe will be backed by deposited BTC - the game will not create gold, items or anything else out of thin air. This also means that the game will not be taking a percentage out of the loot pools. The value of destroyed items (such as principally food, which will be required for all players) will instead cover game development and operational costs. For the alpha and beta interval these costs are going to be negligible and very low. Once the game beta ends the minimal cost of playing incurred through this avenue will be roughly around 0.0001 BTC per game day (real time hour). Food will also represent the primary means through which player stats are replenished.

II. Software. We'll be using the Crystal Space engine (a Cross-platform 3D engine licensed under the GNU LGPL). We will be reusing various libraries and source code, including from cal3d (GNU LGPL), Atomic Blue (GPL v2) etc.

III. Open dev. environment. We intend to allow pretty much anyone to download a client and connect to the alpha server as the game is being developed. This means the players will see a lot of magic pink and purple, but we believe openness is always the better option. The tentative date for server launch is July 15 (which, as the more astute have certainly marked, is about two weeksiii from now). This is a very early release, pretty much nothing will work, don't form expectations and that way you won't be disappointed.

The licensing scheme has not been fully established yet. It is certain we will provide signed binaries of the client. It is likely that we will provide source code of the client, allowing a player to compile his own. It is possible we will support third party client development (skinning, modding, etc). It is unlikely we will distribute or license the server codeiv. It is certain we will not release the art, game rules, quests, backstory and similar.

IV. Splash screen. With the exception of one person, the open to the public competition delivered shockingly weak results. This will be maintained and frequently linked as a permanent reminder to people of the cause of their own relative lack of success : it is their lack of discipline and their laziness that keeps them small and insignificant. It certainly is not lack of opportunity that keeps them small and insignificant.v

We take this opportunity to commend the winner (and only serious participant), known under the screen name likehiro. I do believe that while young he's also talented.

Obviously I had back-ups in place, in the form of professionals working on commission. Admire below a muchly reduced version of a very beautiful screenshot created by Jason Jutavi :


Effective immediately, the acceptable artwork submissions are split into three broad categories, as follows :

IV.1. Heraldry The game will make extensive use of flags, banners and crests. This job will be further split out into IV.1.1. Supports ; IV.1.2. Shields ; IV.1.3. Trims. On the image below these are color coded as blue, red and yellow respectively :


Always keep in mind that in the composition of the final representation blue is added first, on top of it red and on top of that yellow. All designs from all sources of either IV.1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 must geometrically work with any other combination. The exact specifications for the file is 1024 x 1024 px png, the shield starting vertically from 400 (±8 px) and ending vertically at 800 (±8px), horizontally from 330 (±12px) and ending horizontally at 660 (±12px). The exact shape of the shield is not specified. In general there should be negative-ish spacevii allowing indifferent superimposition of yellow and blue.

This line requires, on top of solid art skills, a cursory understanding of history and heraldry, so as to both inspire and instruct. We will mostly try to respect the tint rules, for instance.

IV.2 3D models of flora and fauna. These should be fantastic plants and animals. It is our strategy to include no actual Earth flora or fauna in the game. We won't have rats, we won't have apples. This line requires, on top of solid art skills, a cursory understanding of plant or animal physiology, so as to create items that actually make sense, functionally, or at least aren't blatantly nonsensical (for instance a very very thin, top heavy tree - the thing would never stand). There is some artistic license available, obviously, but if in doubt it is perhaps best to run your idea by us (in the comment section below).

The requirement to contribute artwork before being considered for commission work remains unchanged for the general public, and will remain unchanged for the indefinite future. There will be no furter prizes awarded for participating however. Please use the comment box below for all your submission needs.

V. No website. S.MG will not maintain a central website, forum, wiki or similar for the game. Players are welcome to make their own, provided they don't simultaneously use any game art and obtain any payment (including for advertising).

  1. While all items will have a base (or NPC) value, it is possible and indeed likely that most of them will sell to other players at a premium, such that chairs may go for 150% or wolf teeth for 110% of their nominal value, allowing the player to improve his net results, perhaps significantly. []
  2. That "about" is qualified by two considerations. One is that all game activity (hunting, gathering, crafting etc) will exhibit significant variance, and so a large number of trials will be required to obtain good average data. The other is that player skills will affect efficiency, which in turn will affect results. []
  3. For scoring purposes : this is the 2nd two week term. The previous one we beat by two days, making the score S.MG 1 : BitWorld 0. []
  4. The licenses at work do not require us to provide source code for modified software that we run but do not distribute. Even so, we will release any bug fixes and as much of any improvements as at all possible - our goal is not to corral open source code but merely to protect the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the game experience from dilution through indiscriminate replication. The unavoidable reality of the matter is that in order to be enjoyable a persistent virtual world has to be consistent, and that consistency has to be protected by taking some measures that would be out of place in almost any other development context. []
  5. This point has far reaching implications, as the goal of any and all governmental efforts must forthwith move from trying to increase "opportunities" to actually increasing the discipline and lowering the laziness of the general population. This includes public beatings of the lazy and ineffectual - if not necessarily for their own benefit then for everyone else's. []
  6. Medieval Warfare Magazine, Fantasy Flight Games, Wizards of the Coast etc. []
  7. If it's not actually blank, make it something that may be safely covered. []
Category: S.MG
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25 Responses

  1. Can't wait to put back to use my S3Virge.

  2. That's about when they stopped making games worth playing, yeah.

  3. 9/10.

  4. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Thursday, 27 June 2013

    To a large degree I suspect this graphics discussion is much akin to the "sound quality" debate : for pretty much everyone the increase in quality of digital sound all through the 90s was important and welcome, but by now it makes absolutely no difference to anyone except for a a manical minority that saves .flac versions of their attempts learning to guitar. There is such a thing as a "good enough" gfx engine.

    Moreover, all this is not really a cogent point : good franchises always generated enough revenue to be reimplemented on newer engines over the years. GFX heavy flops never generated enough revenue to cover costs. So from this perspective also there exists such a thing as a "good enough" engine.

  5. It's a valid argument but I'm not sure how much of an 3d alternate universe is feasible with that engine, or in any case a game without children fantasy look alike.

  6. Um, 3 categories - heraldy, 3d models, and .. ??

  7. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 28 June 2013

  8. Screenshots, not concept art, cried the ''gamer community'' :P!

  9. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    Well since you ask, here's some exercises in cute:

  10. Greyhawk`s avatar
    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    Excellent. I see my fighting skills are already implemented correctly.

  11. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    Lol. You can tell a psychopatic optimist by what exactly preoccupies them.

  12. Greyhawk`s avatar
    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    I prefer the term "emotionally unstructured"

  13. Googling "emotionally unstructured" yields. Land of Laziness and Doodles - Woop Programs of 30's and 40's - Having Superman's Genes The Reality of Child Prostitution in Brazil etc.

  14. Greyhawk`s avatar
    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    See? "Land of Laziness and Doodles" fits my artwork perfectly

  15. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Wednesday, 3 July 2013

    I see this is progressing nicely.

  16. Socially challenged.

  17. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 16 July 2013

    Since this seems to give people pause, here's a transparent mask with delineation. Don't go over a margin unless you're prepared to have the respective element covered by or covering the other elements based on the color order (blue first, then red, then yellow).

  18. Out of curiosity..

    What other engines were considered? What was the criteria used to pick this one instead of others? (to me Ryzom Core looks similar, not sure how an actual performance comparison would look).

    Do you plan to give anything back to the engine developers? In terms of potential bugfixes, improvments, etc.

  19. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 17 August 2013

    As to the former maybe Chet weighs in. As to the latter, yes, certainly any bug fixes are to be shared, perhaps some artwork too, on a case by case basis as well as other support.

  20. Yes we certainly plan to share anything the primary planeshift/crystalspace community is interested in and perhaps help a bit with documentation there.

    I did look at Ryzom a while back, I had some issues with it. That may have changed since then - haven't followed it much recently.

  21. EWbUvkepqA

  22. IWkyQbpChMvq

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