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ItHadToComeToThis

Game design limits

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I am not entirely sure where to post this as it covers a few topics so going with the scripting forum.

How far do you think SL could be pushed in terms of game design. Given a 30k land count sim, experience tools, animesh, mesh, LSL, web languages and everything else we have at our disposal. What do you think we could actually achieve if we pushed it to the max.

One thing I have never really seen in all the years I have been in SL is anything taken to it’s maximum level. Like we could have NPCs, questing, level design etc and granted we would never be able to create a AAA game but, how far could we push it if a team was to get together and just go for it. Let’s use the World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Call of Duty as our base examples for this thought experiment ( other suggestions are welcome). Think in terms of playability, game mechanics, could cut scenes be a thing etc etc

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In SL, you can do most of the things games do, but more slowly. So role-playing works better than first-person shooters. You can do a first-person shooter in SL, but it will be far too sluggish for the pew-pew crowd.

Quests work fine. There are many of those in SL. LL even has some, such as PaleoQuest. (Here's a walkthrough. It's a spoiler. There's also a speed run on Youtube.)

NPCs - working on that. See some of mine at GTFO HQ in Bruissac. Go there and they'll find you and say hello.

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LL needs to take scripting seriously and evolve the script library that has been stagnant since Dec. 2013.

Animesh needs body shape support since we're stuck with the default shape and attach point support, the latter especially if you want to make any kind of ball game that involves passing, dribbling, catching, or kicking.

We need animation reform. We've been using a dated protocol that has no in-world controllable/overridable IK support, no dynamic bones, no colliders, no server/client-side ragdoll physics.

We need camera control reform. We do not have scripted rail cam capability, nor smooth-auto follow camera focus control outside of sitting agent following. We don't have scripted camera resetting, nor scripted camera in/out of mouselook or control in mouselook.

We need sound reform. We don't have stereo sound capability, only point/mono sound source emission. We don't have sound modulation capability. We don't have sound  start time, end time, speed override capability.

We don't have an effective means to completely remove/disconnect a user(and their attachments/HUDs/wardrobe/scripts) from an experience. "Run what you brung" has too many immersion/performance/cheating concerns to address currently.

We don't have scripted UI capability. HUD's can't do what a dedicated programmable UI can and MOAP is not an alternative in any sense Apps can't take inputs from keyboard alpha-numeric keys without using activated gestures.

We're still stuck with 64KB sized scripts and splitting operations across multiple scripts adds more resources to the region than does consolidating scripts.

Just a few things that come to mind.

Edited by Lucia Nightfire
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That’s one thing I would like to see myself. 128kb script memory or more and longer sound clips and much better quality.

Another thing I would like to see, albeit it’s a small trivial thing is the ability to use fonts and font size in floating text but native to SL. Something like llSetText(“something”,<1.0,1.0,1.0>,1.0,COMIC_SANS);

Or even better native support for font display on prims like XYZ

Isnt there supposed to be a so called animation reform coming 🔜™️

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3 hours ago, ItHadToComeToThis said:

128kb script memory or more and longer sound clips and much better quality.

Premium Plus is "allegedly" getting 30 second sound upload capability. This isn't a secret as the increase was publicly mentioned in a recent Maintenance viewer.

3 hours ago, ItHadToComeToThis said:

Isnt there supposed to be a so called animation reform coming 🔜™️

The only "possible" future feature related to animation is the adoption of Niran's poser.

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I would like to have the possibility to preset the environment (windlight) in the parcel detail page, as i have the need to force a special windlight setting for my place. But, as i dont own a whole region, i cant do it... :)

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10 hours ago, Resi Pfeffer said:

I would like to have the possibility to preset the environment (windlight) in the parcel detail page, as i have the need to force a special windlight setting for my place. But, as i dont own a whole region, i cant do it... :)

With EEP you can set your own environmental settings on any parcel that you own. 

You can do this now using the EEP RC Viewer (https://releasenotes.secondlife.com/viewer/6.4.0.536347.html) and any other EEP enabled viewer will be able to identify and display the parcel specific settings.

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On 2/17/2020 at 6:33 PM, ItHadToComeToThis said:

Like we could have NPCs, questing, level design etc and granted we would never be able to create a AAA game but, how far could we push it if a team was to get together and just go for it.

SL can do all that.  For some things it's hard and requires hyper efficient LSL code with an occasional dash of external server (for npc bartering calculation), but it can be done.  Come play the games in The Wastelands.  I've got your quests/npcs/combat/scavenging/environmental-hazards/"seamless"-teleports.  Some of our game items may be a bit dated in terms of appearance since the game is 14 years old now, but we're working on updating them.

I am eager for EEP to replace my HUD overlays for various "effects" players endure.

-- (Edit to add) --

Right now I have "daily" quests, but I have done rather complex (30m to 1h long) seasonal quests.

Edited by NeoBokrug Elytis
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On 2/18/2020 at 1:33 PM, ItHadToComeToThis said:

One thing I have never really seen in all the years I have been in SL is anything taken to it’s maximum level. Like we could have NPCs, questing, level design etc and granted we would never be able to create a AAA game but, how far could we push it if a team was to get together and just go for it. Let’s use the World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Call of Duty as our base examples for this thought experiment ( other suggestions are welcome). Think in terms of playability, game mechanics, could cut scenes be a thing etc etc

is a roi question I think. At the end of it what reward do we get for the time invested

if we can tie it to SL returns like rentals and/or product sales then it can be worth it

the roi competition is further complicated by what we could get if we invested the same time and dev skills/experience into a game that we could sell on Steam/XBox/etc

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3 hours ago, NeoBokrug Elytis said:

SL can do all that.  For some things it's hard and requires hyper efficient LSL code with an occasional dash of external server (for npc bartering calculation), but it can be done.  Come play the games in The Wastelands.  I've got your quests/npcs/combat/scavenging/environmental-hazards/"seamless"-teleports.  Some of our game items may be a bit dated in terms of appearance since the game is 14 years old now, but we're working on updating them.

I am eager for EEP to replace my HUD overlays for various "effects" players endure.

-- (Edit to add) --

Right now I have "daily" quests, but I have done rather complex (30m to 1h long) seasonal quests.

Yes I know we already have all of that. The point I was making is that while we have all of that, we probably couldn’t achieve a AAA game and yes I will come check it out 😁

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The biggest weakness of SL is in avatar vs avatar interaction. Everything is based on the "sit" mechanic. Melee combat doesn't work very well in SL.

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Also, after just playing a "paid advertisement" style boxing game in SL, I realized we need game controller input acceptance/mapping capabilty, up to at least a dozen buttons and the additional controls and event triggering in LSL.

Edited by Lucia Nightfire
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Additional control inputs are sorely needed. Of the ten controls detected by LSL, I'd say about eight of them are needed for basic navigation. That doesn't leave us much room for additional actions and we usually have to resort to sacrificing existing controls for them instead. I made a feature suggestion a while back that proposed adding LSL hooks to detect the F, Q, Z, and X keys and right-click when in mouselook. The jira hasn't been rejected but has instead been in "Been Triaged" for a long time. I'm... optimistic that's a positive sign.

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10 hours ago, ItHadToComeToThis said:

Yes I know we already have all of that. The point I was making is that while we have all of that, we probably couldn’t achieve a AAA game and yes I will come check it out 😁

Here's a few reasons that I think we'll never be able to achieve AAA game status in SL starting with LSL:

SL allows too much "freedom".  Players can and do wear anything they want, including other scripted content.  As long as a player wears whatever they want to a destination -- whether or not there's any competition in your games -- there will be people who "cheat" just because they can.  I would say about 15-25% of the code I write for my game HUD is to detect when things aren't "normal", and turn the HUD off or suspend the player for a short time.  Initially the first thing I coded for was checking if a players speed was too fast.  Limiting jump height.  Then it was teleports, and adding code to allow for teleports from experiences.  Then it was sitting long distances. 

I made some big changes to this chunk of code in October, because the recent server rolls are changing how regions behave when avatars TP in or cross region bordres (a regression?) and it's been creating a lot of false positives.  Last month I rolled another little patch in to try to account for these and other problems -- but it's still overly sensitive sometimes.  Mostly on days where SL in general is performing bad.  Which brings us to the next topic:  SL as a service.

If you're not fighting cheating players, you're creating redundancies for when the grid has bad weather.  Ever since the introduction of the Experiences KVP system, I have been migrating away from external servers to keep track of player and game data.  Making an LSL call to outside of SL has the opportunity for three points of failure.  1) The region you're on.  2) Second Life's network.  3) Your servers.  Keeping it all IN SL is hard work that requires a lot of pre-planning, and LSL-KVP is not nearly as robust as a php-mysql backend.  But I find that the KVP system is far more reliable than outbound HTTP calls in Second Life.

Finally, and this is not LSL related -- the rendering engine for SL leaves a lot to be desired.  I would like to see LL use Sansars rendering engine adapted for use in a new SL viewer.

I think good or profitable games can be made in SL, I just don't think we'll ever really see anything like AAA game content.  Hell, way back when, I wrote 99.5% of the code of a game that made 1.4M USD in it's first year.  Like all things it will just take a lot of effort; probably more so than any AAA game title given the limits of LSL alone, and then compounded with all of SLs quirks.

 

p.s.  I am currently working on an MMO style raid boss fight.  Should be live in a few weeks.

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I used to play an amazing MMO way back in 2006 that I was blown away by. It was called DarkLife and I was impressed (still am) with the amount of work that went into creating that type of game in Second Life that was so well thought out, balanced, and fun to play. It had loads of content like different character classes, quest, grouping up for shared xp with friends, and tons of different armor for each class. I always wondered just how much further something like that could have been pushed with todays tools because as a lot of us know back in 2006 things were a LOT different.

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