Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Massively multiplayer online games
The traditional single player video game that you buy in the shop or down-
load to your computer is a fixed affair with a finite size, pre-set objectives and
a story and gameplay that works towards a definite conclusion.The massively
multiplayer online game (MMOG) is a very different and open-ended type
of game in which huge numbers of players inhabit and explore a virtual
world through their on-screen avatars. Gameplay may be centred on the
individual or rely on players working together in cooperation. It may be
highly combative or driven by quests and missions the player must fulfil to
progress.Whatever the style of play, the massively multiplayer game is a beast
that constantly needs feeding with new material to keep the players
interested.
When the gameplay is very action orientated rather than quest and story
driven, new material often simply takes the form of additional multiplayer
maps and new avatar models.These may be created by the original developer
and released as expansion packs, but are very often created by the players
themselves, using tools released with the game, which sees them investing
much more than just playing time in the experience.This additional, player-
created content is often hosted by the original developer or publisher on the
game's official website with the intention of creating a community that goes
beyond the game itself. For many players, online gaming is not only about
playing the game, but also being a part of a wider group of gamers who share
a similar interest and often hang around the game's forums.
Where the game is story based or the players are able to interact in a
greater variety of ways (a role playing game - MMORPG - say), additional
material is generally created by the development team and the writers are an
important part of that process. Although some new material will be fed into
the world on an ongoing basis, many MMORPG developers release expan-
sion packs which allow the players to explore and develop their characters in
a much larger environment. The gaming community attached to many of
these games can be greater, too, because as well as the online forums, the
game world itself may be used to advance a sense of belonging. Some game
players become almost addicted to the online world as they explore and
interact with the various aspects of the game and the other players.
 
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