Online worlds just cannot provide unique storylines and single player quests like standalone games can.
I don't agree with that. Sure, the story is much more open ended but to me that's a *strength*, not a weakness. Personally single user games do not hold my interest because I'm always trying to second guess the *designer* (what was he thinking, what does *he* want me to be doing here). OTOH, I create my own plot in a MMPOG. Take UO.. some want to be the biggest/baddest muther on the block. I content myself with being the 'Kings groundskeeper'.. a poor ranger that's imminently knowledgeable about the woods. My 'conditions for success' are completely different than any other player in the game. And *I* determined those conditions. Play any single user game and you're forced down a particular path (to win).
Why cant Privateer 3 be designed as a proper sequel?
Assuming there *IS* to be a Privateer 3 (and I'm not suggesting there is), I suspect the answer to your question would be one of time & resources.
Again, it's purely a personal decision and while I'd hope that you wouldn't make that decision, remember there are probably lot's of others that would play such a game that would never purchase a single user version. But unfortunately you're right: you win some/lose some.
Again, I'm not alluding to ANY Privateer product, whether single user or Online. I just saw some concerns & false assumptions about MMPOG's and having lots of experience with the genre thought I'd share that experience. Besides, that decision is clearly not in my hands ;)
Please understand I wasn't downplaying 'fantasy D&D'. Just that IMHO online roleplaying is distinctly different. For example, in 'Fantasy D&D' there are specific rules (of character generation, results, etc). In online roleplaying *you* decide how you play your character (with the design of course). Will a squadron be 'strict' and 'official' (3rd Marines brigade, 135th Fighter Squadron) ? Or informal and 'playful' (The Flying Pigs). Will they meet religiously every Wed nite at 9PM EST? Or just show up. Will someone play an honorable character? Or a untrustworthy pirate? It's their choice (and not that of the dungeon master ;)
Open ended games add a different degree of a story but I have never seen one which has had as good a story as a single player game.
I understand your observation. As I mentioned, a single user game *has* to have its plot/story 'expertly' laid out (and finished, with opening, mid & end game completely programmed). It's the talent of the designer in doing this that makes a game compelling (from a plot/story point of view). And as you point out, the environment in a MMPOG is made by the players (And that's why not all single user games are good candidates as a MMPOG). But that doesn't mean there can't be a compelling 'backstory' with gameplay designed around that. I'm purely 'fantasizing' as a 'designer' here, but what if you could pop into a 'WC/Privateer universe', choose to be either the confed or a civvie. If you were confed, you would have access to specific fighters, etc. call a specific cap ship 'home', be a part of a squadron (not get paid much but have security in numbers, etc.). If you were a Civvie you would have to build your ship, avoid Kilrathi/bugs/pirates (but make lots of money if you succeeded, thereby enabling you to upgrade your ship). Or pay for escort by the military (or maybe there's civvie 'police' squadrons that serve as bodyguards... for a price of course ;)
I wasn't downplaying 'dating services'. They clearly have their place. Just pointing out that you cannot compare the richness or depth possible in a MMPOG with multiplayer games designed for a 'dating service' (or more specifically the 'technical' aspect of why such games are limited to 4 or so players). Ever wonder why most multiplayer (vs MMPOG) games are designed primarily as 'deathmatches'? IMHO a Privateer multiplayer game (ala 'dating service') would be nothing more than an incessant dogfight ala XWvT. BOOooring....
But I'll say it again: I am (personally) definitely biased *toward* MMOG's in general. I think they provide the potential for a gaming universe/environment far far richer and more immersive, much more 'human' than any single user game. That is, *IF* designed and delivered properly (e.g. I can also give examples of poorly designed/executed MMPOG's).
Sure, but whatever evolution, riches, fame, skill you achieved during a Diablo multiplayer game (whatever your class) is lost as soon as you leave the game. What's the fun in that? It's a very 'temporary' success.
Regarding the recent poll and 'what 80% the majority wants': At the risk of being blunt, unfortunately the 'poll' recently offered is *not* good market research. Not just because only few voted (if done correctly even 300 could serve as a 'statistically relevant' sample). But such web based polls are inherently biased (or more correctly, cannot be proven unbiased). They're not blind, there are no controls (can you prove/state unequivocally only 'objective' people voted?). So I'm sorry, but my (personal) reaction is all it tells me is that 80% of whoever (?) voted is 'for' a single user game. Other than that the methodology just doesn't scientifically support the assertion that 'the majority of the potential market for a privateer type game wants a single user game'.
But I can pretty much guarantee you this: If it does come to light the potential for success of a single user game exceeds that of a MMPOG (knowing the MMPOG business) I doubt any sane businessman would make the decision to go down the less successful path ;)
Finally, I'm really not trying to 'spin', mislead/misinform anyone. What was it I said that make you think "some of the things you said I think are far from accurate".
p.s. sorry if this post is 'chopped up', out of order. It's hard to 'view' the format and I'm just trying not to let the dialogue degrade into massive 'tomes' and cutting/snipping to keep topics 'new & fresh' ;) [LOAF: Uhm, same, I've been cutting out Boomer's comments and a few important questions, but a lot of what he's responding to isn't here... so it'll seem disjointed...]
While you can do these such things, they still don't create as good an atmosphere or story that a single player game produces.
Oh I dunno.. I've been involved in some large scale scenarios recreating specific historical events that made you feel like 'You Are There'. Of course a fictional environment is a bit different. Then it's only limited to your imagination ;)
There are infinite possibilities.
Couple 'good design' points bear mentioning:
1. limit the visible players to the closest 32 (they're the only ones that present a 'threat' anyway). That way you aren't subject to *everyone's* connect.
2. In my experience, only the players with a poor connect appear 'laggy'. e.g. if one person has a poor connect they don't affect the other players. Point being, you don't send/receive *everyone's* data in one big packet since if one person is lagging that packet is detained creating lag for everyone. You individually 'ID' each of the closest 32 players and send an individual packet for each player (this happens many many times a second for each player). If the smoothing code is well designed, you can have "large" ping times (since you don't need to positional updates in real time). For example, the last company I worked allowed for almost 2000 ms lag (that's 2 seconds). Further, regarding (predictive smoothing) distances between players matter. The closer the distance, the less 'forgiving' predictive smoothing is (that's why you don't see successful MMPOG auto racing games ;). Distances of a 'real life' hundred yards can be very forgiving.
So no, individuals shouldn't have to 'wait' for an update, even from other individuals (since *your* computer is 'predicting' where that laggy player is/was heading). Those players with good connects will be updated regularly (thereby providing a smooth appearance) while those with less optimal connects will 'lag' (generally from dropped packets) and only they will appear to 'warp'. Most often, other players will inform the 'warpy' player of the situation and ask the player to 'relog' (hoping they will achieve a better route next time they connect).
2 dimensions (land), 3 dimensions (air/space), what's the difference? Only one additional geometric plane to contend with (X, Y & Z), right? It's all Linear Algebra (matrix, integer math) anyway. It's really just as fast.
And positional (attitude, heading, velocity, etc.) have nothing to do with the *online* performance (ping time). The graphics (e.g. the # of poly's, shades, textures, etc.) are being processed locally (on the client, or YOUR computer). Thus, the performance of the 'client' computer determines *frame rate* (just like a single user game). In any good online design frame rate should NOT be tied to the communications code. However, I've noticed some developers have limited frame rate to that of the fastest host computer (in a peer to peer games). This is, IMHO unfair (and bad design ;). Bottom line is, graphics are NOT sent over the net (and thus, should have nothing to do with the quality of your connect, ping times, etc)
Not sure I understand your question (so allow me to offer 2 answers). MMPOG's require a different overall design approach than single user games. For example, a single user game has the plot/story/path/ending all defined and 'hard coded' even before you start the game (you must go down a certain path to 'win'). Online games are best when left 'open ended' (players decide how to play the game). So 'good gameplay' is not a function of ping time. If you're asking whether you can have awesome graphics, a good game play design, and still remain enjoyable for 100's of simultaneous players I can give you an unqualified 'Yes!'. That is, assuming a) the predictive smoothing code is well designed (e.g. 'ping tolerant'), players positional info is sent independently, the burden of displaying the graphics is local (a no brainer.. no developer worth his salt would try to feed graphical info/files over the Internet for a real time game).
Can it be done 'good for everyone'? TBH, no. There will always be those that simply don't understand what they're purchasing from their ISP, have no idea/desire to optimize their computer/connect, etc. For those it will always be 'this sucks'.
But Online gaming has come a LONG way from when I first started. You wouldn't believe the hoops I had to jump thru, the (literal) price I had to pay, to get 'hooked up' 10 years ago (You almost had to be a TCP/IP network engineer to even get into the arena ;). So for the majority, I'll still say yes...
Like what? Names of companies/games that offer real time MMPOG flight sims? Off the top of my head:
Kesmai Airwarrior (WW2, $9.95/mo), Microsoft Fighter Aces (WW2, $9.95/mo), Imagiconline WarBirds (WW2, $2/hr), Sierra Red Baron 2 (WWI, free last I heard), Novalogic 'Novaworld' (jets, free). Not sure about how well the last two are 'technically' (never flown either online)
Or try Planetary Raiders (a ummm... not so well designed/implemented MMPOG 'ripoff' of Privateer. On the plus side, I think it's still free. Not much fun but it'll certainly demo the current state of the TCP/IP communications technology.)
(do a search on the above for specific URL's)
Hope that helped.