2002-07-18: Developer Chat: Platforms vs. PC's The future of MMOGs

Developer Chat: Platforms vs. PC's The future of MMOGs


Verviticus from
Haden Blackman, Producer LucasArts
Larry Dunlap, Founder/Creative Director, Intelligent Life Games
Richard Lawrence, Director of Development, Sony Online Entertainment
Darren "Dai-Galean" Scott Funcom Community Rep. Funcom
Gordon "Tyrant" Walton, Executive Producer Maxis/VP of EA
Mark Jacobs, Founder/CEO Mythic Entertainment
Tim Schubert, Lead Client Programmer with Origin

UnknownPlayer Can our guests introduce themselfs?
Dai-Galean Hello there. My name is Darren "Dai-Galean" Scott and I am one of a team of 3 Community guys over here in Oslo, Norway, working for Funcom and Anarchy Online.
Maxis_Tyrant Hi, I'm Gordon Walton, Exec producer of The Sims Online,
Maxis_Tyrant Some call me Tyrant though
LarryatILG Hi I'm Larry Dunlap, with Intelligent Life Games. We're bringing a TBS game called Imperial Wars online this year. Looking forward to tonight's topic.
Haden I'm Haden "Shug_Ninx" Blackman. I'm the Producer for Star Wars Galaxies at LucasArts. [Netsplit]
Dai-Galean someone broke the cookie
UnknownPlayer Hehehe
UnknownPlayer Ok let me repost my question
Dai-Galean Darn Mark
UnknownPlayer Everyone has seen consoles pushing into the online realm. Lets start off in a general sense and see what you think of MMOG's on a Console
LarryatILG MMOGs based on role-playhing can't compete with machines with a keyboard, that's clear
Dai-Galean well. That is interesting
MBJ I think MMORPGs on consoles will, for the current generation, be inferior to those on the PC.
Origin_Alai I think that *eventually* consoles are going to be THE place to play MMOGs, but not yet. The limitations of technology and acclimating that market to MMOGs is a heckuva hurdle to jump.
RichL_SOE I think the platform is challenging because of some inherent shortcomings compared to PCs, but it represents an audience and playstyle we must be able to satisfy if we want MMOs to be fully mainstream entertainment
Haden Well, the experience is definitely going to be different, that's for sure, but I think that, once the communication issues are resolved, MMOs will be the venue for the most successful MMOs in the future.
Dai-Galean The console as Alai said have their limitations at this time, but down the road we will see it more and more in the users household.
Origin_Alai There's a few things we need to really get going on consoles. A keyboard (or replacement), connectivity, and a HDD.
LarryatILG No doubt it is all coming, as well as other kinds of MMOGs
MBJ I disagree. I think consoles will always lag behind PCs over the long run until the day that there is only one unit.
RichL_SOE You can get by without a HD, it's just a challenge =). We are doing that with EQOA.
LarryatILG ...and will meet in the lviing room. :)
Origin_Alai Well, yeah, but you guys are nuts ;)
MBJ I look at the debate between consoles and PCs in the following manner.
Dai-Galean hehe
KrelinSOE RichL_SOE: Harder to evolve, modify, grow, and change your content, though (not impossible, just harder)
RichL_SOE Not going to dispute that, I work in gaming.
MBJ Think of a roller coaster. When a new console comes out it is at the top of the coaster while the pc is at the bottom
Haden Well, the "type" of MMO is really important on a console - the traditional MMORPGs maybe aren't going to be translated as well, but we need to push the boundaries in terms of design anyway.
MBJ Then the PC goes back up to the top (new hardware) and the consoles are at the bottom. Thus, I don't think that until you
MBJ have one unified device, consoles will ever be the dominant player in the scene and frankly, I think that they will
Origin_Alai The PS3 is looking pretty promising if they can meet their goals.
MBJ always lag behind. Also, if you take into account the licensing issues with doing a console game, I think that they will be less attractive to
LarryatILG It will happen and not just because of us game guys. Everybody in every related biz wants a piece of the computer in the living room and that will give us more hardware and more design options.
MBJ the developers than the PC. Okay, I'll shut up now. :)
RichL_SOE As long as you try to make PC style MMOs on a console, there will remain technology issue. The key is not to make a PC style MMO, but to use the stengths of the platform you are aiming for.
Dai-Galean But then you will be turning a console into a pc by the time you are done?
LarryatILG I agree Rich
UnknownPlayer - style="vertical-align:top;" Baron_ Wants to know if adding Voice functionality would help break through the communication barrier?
Dai-Galean HD's, keyboards, etc
Haden I agree with Rich, too. And you need to realize that my little brother can't upgrade his video card, but he can plug in a console. If we're talking about widening the audience, clearly the console is more conducive to that than the PC.
LarryatILG I think that is one of the core technologies that will change.
LarryatILG Central processor in the house. Then you can run a PC/Console/HDTV/Dishwasher...
LarryatILG That will happen.
Haden Voice technology is great, if you require all of your users to have broadband. But there still need to be other ways to communicate.
Origin_Alai Voice functionality will certainly free up the communication problem. I think that our games don't really need as much communication potential as we think.
LarryatILG Short term, pc's own Multi-player online games just for their abiltiy to communicate.
Origin_Alai Most of the time, players are just asking each other where they are, or how much health they have.
MBJ Really? I think VC will actually cause more trouble than it's worth.
RichL_SOE Voice is not a panacea. It requires hardware, and frankly people dont like putting things on their heads. And lots of people just do NOT want the direct interactivity represented by voice
Dai-Galean As is proven today, with the voice communication that is on the market todate.
MBJ [---Agrees with Rich (He's usually right)
LarryatILG Voice translated to text, will be effective
Origin_Alai And of course, localizing voice technology might be somewhat problematic.
KrelinSOE MUD-Dev had a nice discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of voice chat wrt: online games not too long ago. If you're really curious about that it's worth checking their archives.
Haden That's true too - you need to think about things like security, voice fonts, personality, online identity, etc.
LarryatILG Archives.... what?
LarryatILG Voice chat is not the wave of the future, since we have telephones and internet phones.
LarryatILG However voice control of a console to some degree could.
LarryatILG What I mean is, new use of technology, not VC.
MBJ Agrees
LarryatILG That' when consoles catch up, maybe overtake pcs
Dai-Galean Rich, I will have to differ with you there, most players like the feeling of being in the game. Music, voice, etc headphones and speaker systems are big. This is what makes a more indeapth experiance in games
LarryatILG **nods**
UnknownPlayer Many consoles do not work off a modem technology... With only 10% of American households having broadband how would a MMOG work?
LarryatILG This is what big corporate America wants so this is what will happen
LarryatILG MS and others are forcing the issue
Origin_Alai Sure, lots of UO players don't have broadband now, and it works.
LarryatILG We'll read that 'tipping point", and then everyone will have it anyway
Dai-Galean As many other games on the market
MBJ Well, the MMOG aspect can work as long as the server/client are designed well. However, the big problem isn't that but when an update is needed. Then things can get ugly.
LarryatILG But broadband may be driven more by music and video pirating then games. :)
KrelinSOE Dai-Galean: I find that my immersion is often broken in games with voice tech by other players whose voices or behavior don't fit the atmosphere of the game, though.
Dai-Galean KrelinSOE, hmm i see you point.
Origin_Alai The real trick is getting people to buy *any* kind of communications hardware for the console.
RichL_SOE There are voice fonts, but they still sound fairly mechanical.
KrelinSOE Voice-]Text conversion might be interesting
KrelinSOE Hard problem, though
Haden Well, the number of broadband users is definitely a real concern for console MMO developers. There's conflicting information regarding the growth of broadband users, which makes it difficult for us to gauge how many potential users we'll have.
LarryatILG I don't think there is ever going to be a broad choice of voice communication between players, but a great possiblity of voice communication between a player and his game machine.
Dai-Galean But as is proven with the ability to select certain channels, or in the future voice link channels players will be able to select their own groups or guilds, hence they will be able to alow who they need to or wish into these channels..
UnknownPlayer - style="vertical-align:top;" AOB-Solarax As time passes, consoles are becoming more and more like PCs with every generation. Consoles now have mice, keyboards, hard-drives, and broadband connections, even the graphics chips are the same as those in PCs, essentially a console is a computer of pre-determined spec in a box. So why is the console going to be the "it" platform for MMOGs?
LarryatILG The fact that these are different machines is just a precesnt time anomally
Haden Because it sits in your living room and nearly anyone can turn it on and use it.
RichL_SOE Because they are more accessible. Because you can turn on the console, and with a well designed game, be in the experience within 5 minutes, have rewarding play within 10, and leave at your own volition at any time. All while sitting on your couch with your feet up on a table.
Dai-Galean Playing devils advocate here for a second.
MBJ I see consoles as the training grounds for the next generation of PC players.
Haden I have friends that would fall in love with current MMOs; they won't try them, though, as long as they have to deal with "scary" PCs.
Dai-Galean Haden, with the ease of any os that is comming on the market anyone may use a computer just the same ?
RichL_SOE Dai: Never, because the OS of the PC is meant to run generalized applications, not specifically games.
Haden Maybe, but there's a perception that you have to "maintain" your PC if you want to stay current. You have to open it up and install a new card, etc.
MBJ Haden, but do you think that as this generation and future generations grow up with consoles, PCs at schools, then that attitude will fade to a small minority?
UnknownPlayer Haden: With the cost of CS these days, would a large number of inexperenced players be good for a budget like that?
Origin_Alai Maybe I just don't have a comfortable enough computer chair, but I like playing on a console just so I can lounge on the couch and play.
LarryatILG heh heh :)
Origin_Alai There's also the guarantee that when I put the CD in the console, its gonna work.
Dai-Galean Rich, Hmm, but the younger generation are growing up with this knowledge, this is why we make machines bigger faster stronger
Haden Possibly, yeah. But, games are sort of like comic books in that we benefit from bringing in younger players and grooming them to be lifelong gamers. I'm a gamer because of Atari... Younger players can use a console more easily than a computer.
Origin_Alai I don't need DX9. A new sound card, more RAM.
Dai-Galean wow six million dollar man flashback there sorry * UnknownPlayer chuckles
Haden Unknown, that's a good point - but if you put the CD in and it works, you cut down on the calls right away.
RichL_SOE It's not the speed or capability of the machine Dai, it's literally what it's designed for. Consoles have an express purpose they fit very well. Everything about them, the ergonomics of operation, the controls, the feedback indications, all are built _just_ for games. PCs will never have that.
MBJ Haden: True. But children these days have so much more interaction with computers that I truly believe the fear of the PC will belong to a distinct minority ina generation ot two.
UnknownPlayer Haden: But think about all of the console players you are talking about that have never been introduced to lag....
Haden MBJ, I hope so. Truly.
Dai-Galean UnknownPlayer but have we gone seriously online with these types of machines
Dai-Galean to such a mass as many mmogs todate
MBJ Hehe, and if not, EA/Sony/etc. will continue to make a fortune from console sales and software so everybody is happy. :)
Origin_Alai Someone should just turn the lag option of in Windows once and for all.
Haden Unknown - right, there's going to be things that they have to be introduced too (grief players!). That is a concern. One way to deal with some of this is to have more thoroughly automated CS.
RichL_SOE Regardless of the capabilities question, let me tell you from experience that it is a completely different experience playing EQ while kicked back on a couch with a cola in one hand and the controller in the other compared to playing it on the PC. That alone will be more appealing to a segment of users.
UnknownPlayer *nods*
ArchTruth Alai -- Yeah, and convince the government to spend money on a huge ultra-fast fiber optic network instead of defending our country...
LarryatILG Yes, probably the best games will work in both environments in the near future
Origin_Alai I'd rather trade in Mohair subsidies, but whatever.
LarryatILG Worldcom did that already, and on somebody's money :)
Dai-Galean hmm a point here
Dai-Galean Many MMO's have a hidden requirement for a degree of "off-line calculation". Time spent in an MMO getting things right does require some form of evaluation time. Being on the sofa, may not provide as condusive an environment as say, the home-office
MBJ Dai, maybe, but the snacks are better on the sofa. :)
Dai-Galean lol
Haden Which brings us back to the issue that console games need to be designed differently than PC MMOs.
Origin_Alai You'll have to bend the game to tolerate that.
LarryatILG Short term....
Origin_Alai Consider Baldurs Gate for PC, and Dark Alliance for the PS2.
Origin_Alai (Granted its a weak connection)
RichL_SOE dai: the obvious answer is not to build a game for the console that requires that level of 'offline' investment. It's another aspect of accessibility.
ArchTruth On MMOs, I remember scrabbling down information... if that information could be saved in game,
MBJ Haden: Dead on, Larry: Forever, as long as consoles != PCs
ArchTruth It would eliminate the need of an office-like environment.
LarryatILG When we speak of online, a realy new medium, we have to see the convergence of several game types that will cross that barrier.
UnknownPlayer Every MMOG to date has required extensive patching after the fact, how do you see this being done with the limited memory of current consoles?
MBJ I don't believe though that consoles will ever have the upgradeability of PCs. As Rich has pointed out most eloquently earlier.
Origin_Alai "Screw up less"
Dai-Galean But then again are we not doing a full circle, back to hard drives etc, information has to be saved, will he console not be the computer that you need a tv for not a monitor?
Tyrant It's going to be tough that is for srue
Tyrant sure
MBJ Once a console = PC, it loses some of its advantages.
Tyrant They have to have storage for patches, or they won't be very successful from a retention basis
Origin_Alai I agree. Players are spending money for content, not just GMs.
LarryatILG MB, consider a central unit that processes a lot of stuff in a home.
LarryatILG We are going to live in a much wider world in the next 10 years.
RichL_SOE Regarding patching, first and foremost you have to build your app to be much more server-data driven. In other words, dont depend on the ability to patch so much, duh. But if you really have to...all consoles feature small amounts of rewriteable storage in the form of memory cards, and next gen ones will have some amount of fixed disk space.
Haden Absolutely need storage. I agree. But, the trick is to give consoles more of the power and functionality of PCs without the hassles.
MBJ Maybe, but we've heard promises like that before Larry from lots of companies. I'll be the cynic tonight.
Tyrant no patches, no significant changes, game gets boring *much* faster == low retention rates
LarryatILG plug in your console, your pc (wireless of course), your tivo (another computerized unit), and everything else, modularized.
LarryatILG heh heh
Dai-Galean he he
KrelinSOE Tyrant: Might be acceptable if you're a console company already
MBJ Larry, yeap, plug them in and watch everything fail at once! :)
Tyrant ability to patch raises the base unit price signficantly of course :)
Haden If you can swap video cards in and out like you do memory cards, then you have upgrade capability.
LarryatILG MB, but we didn't have digital tv and that was the difference
Origin_Alai I'm not sure how significant that has to be though.
LarryatILG I can't think of any other real reason for Microsofties to be in gaming.
Origin_Alai It depends on the HDD, of course.
Elghin If I can fit a Gig of solid state data on a keychain, I don't see storage for a console being an issue much longer...
LarryatILG And when you llive here in LA, you hear a lot about all of the entertainment companies, communication and cable companies fighting over that mind in the home living room.
Origin_Alai That cost could be offset by delivery of games over the net as well (no overhead in the sales channels).
Dai-Galean As for the patching, well I know this one well :)
KrelinSOE Elghin: Except that low price point is attractive, and if mass storage isn't percieved as a necessity by console manufacturers, it won't be there.
MBJ And here on the East Coast we here about all those companies going kaput and burning thought billions. :)
Origin_Alai But if it isn't in the console when it ships, you don't have enough market penetration.
Tyrant Upgrades don't work well with consoles. They are an appliance.
LarryatILG Yes, I used to be in cable tv and saw Time Warner blow a bunch of money on interactive tv
LarryatILG But that doesn't mean it won't happen someday.
LarryatILG I just think someday is right around the corner.
MBJ It may, time will certainly tell.
LarryatILG The cornerstone is the digital television to me.
UnknownPlayer - style="vertical-align:top;" Lord__Chaos With the x-box offering broadband compliancy,communication, a 733mhz proc which priority is games-unlike pc's which have several functions running from the proc,upgradeability and built in hd what exactly is keeping the x-box from being a mainstream mmo compared to the pc market?
MBJ Microsoft. :)
Dai-Galean :)
Tyrant haha!
LarryatILG games
LarryatILG heh heh
Origin_Alai Heh
Haden Right now, probably the limited broadband penetration.
RichL_SOE So much for Mark selling out to Mr. Gates later on in life....
UnknownPlayer haha
MBJ Oh, they are going to hate me for that remark. Hey wait, they already do! :)
LarryatILG Ha ha
Elghin Why aren't there more games for the X-box?
Origin_Alai Cause nobody owns one?
LarryatILG titles
KrelinSOE Elghin: Penetration
LarryatILG I think software has to follow hardware.
MBJ Three point shot by Origin_Alia, nothing but net.
RichL_SOE The Xbox is in the first year of trying to penetrate a difficult and highly contested market. MMOs cost orders of magnitude more to develope than regular console games
Tyrant X-box is the first generation for Microsoft as a console provider. By the third generation they will be more formidable. * KrelinSOE gives LarryatILG a chicken and an egg
LarryatILG MS is just after the game biz, ... as they say, go for the balls and your heart and soul will follow.
LarryatILG Sorry, isn't
Origin_Alai Is MS planning on following it up?
RichL_SOE The risk adverse people of the world would rather take their chances elsewhere right's not a limitation of the hardware
LarryatILG They want to own the rights in the living room. Then they can compete with TV Guide, and all the big entertainment companies who ar scared to death of them.
Haden Not only are the much more expensive to make, but you have the cost of ongoing support as well. Developers and publishers aren't going to spend that money if they don't think there are enough users, based on the number of homes that have broadband.
MBJ Origin, of cause they will follow it up. Xbox 2003, Xbox 2005, Xbox New Millenium, etc. :)
Dai-Galean Comes to who is the bully on the block at this time,
RichL_SOE XPBox?
Dai-Galean One will come along to change that,
LarryatILG This isn't about games at all, except maybe corporate ones. * Origin_Alai cringes
UnknownPlayer What hurtles would a developer/publisher have when trying to market a MMOG only for a console?
LarryatILG Thanks for chicken, K, (you can keep the egg). :)
Dai-Galean Lag
Dai-Galean patching
LarryatILG Communication
Origin_Alai I'm sure microsoft will continue to drive for the living room, the question is whether its the console, the web box, or UltimateTV.
Dai-Galean MS
Tyrant voice / communication, connection, patching storage
LarryatILG The main thing people do on the Internet is talk with each other.
Origin_Alai Licensing.
LarryatILG and Licensing...,
Tyrant need all three to be successful
RichL_SOE Hurdles to making a MMOG for console: * Having a good game design. * Having a market to sell it to (unit + capability penetration). * Having a way to monetize that market. The rest is gravy =)
LarryatILG yes, and patching...., oh, and lag * UnknownPlayer couldnt spell to save his life...
LarryatILG yes, just these 5 things.
LarryatILG :)
Haden Building the community prior to launch, defining the genre for new users, maintaining a community without the benefit of PC tools, like web sites, chat rooms, etc.
LarryatILG Yes, just these 8 things....
LarryatILG that's all
KrelinSOE LarryatILG: Nobody expects the console inquisition
Dai-Galean but also convsion for the different markets ntsc, pal where there is no worries for that in pc?
LarryatILG heh heh
Origin_Alai Server infrastructure, CS dept.....
Dai-Galean I am a little werry on that area.
LarryatILG Just these 12....
Tyrant The terminal (console) has to play to the medium for MMOGs. A way for players to socialize. A way to connect easily too.
Tyrant and it all has to come standard with the console
Tyrant add-ons fail * Origin_Alai nods.
Tyrant universally
Tyrant unless they are a better joystick
LarryatILG Yeah, like Dreamcast did it.
Tyrant :)
LarryatILG **whew**
UnknownPlayer Do you see console MMOG's having a higher or lower monthly fee than current games?
Haden Marketing will also be challenged to convince players to pay subscription fees, which will be a (relatively) new concept.
Dai-Galean Will you not with the console also need use some dial up program or will the games be build to auto connect to the right information server for the spacific game that is created.
LarryatILG I agree Haden, a big issue with educating console players
MBJ A lot depends on what the console makers want to extract from the developers/publishers/etc. from the titles.
RichL_SOE I think console MMOs will probably stay even or tend a bit lower on subscriptions compared to PCs.
Tyrant all the console strategists are counting on broadband to save their bacon
Tyrant but people in Korea don't buy consoles :)
Origin_Alai One fun part is figuring out how to allow people who rent games at Blockbuster to subscribe at all.
Haden The fees will need to depend on what other fees players are paying. If they're already paying for broadband, a basic "online" service, AND an MMO subscription, it gets costly fast.
Tyrant And no one else has the penetration to make it work
RichL_SOE Keep in mind a big money issue on consoles is that kids dont have credit cards. That they can use legally, that is. So you often have to retail more than once to keep the customer (sell them a gamecard)
LarryatILG I think its a good bet, Gordon, it will have to happen for anyone in electronic gaming, but there a lot of hurdles
LarryatILG I think online will belong to the pc market for a while yet.
LarryatILG Card reader in the console. :) That will happen for sure.
RichL_SOE Origin_Alai: Rented games use low-cost gamecards for subscriptions, not a problem. Sell them right next to the rented game.
LarryatILG And not just for games....
Origin_Alai If I rent a game for $7 do I want to spend $20 for the game card? Not an impulse buy anymore.
Dai-Galean One issue here is the interaction we take away from player with the fan sites, console players will not have this interaction they will still need the pc for the mmog information
Tyrant Did everyone see that the 1 billionth PC was sold recently? Counting from the first 8088 PC. Over 500 million still in service too.
Tyrant I wonder how many are online?
LarryatILG Yes, player origination is really an important part of online games now.
LarryatILG Wow!
Origin_Alai I count about 60 here....
Dai-Galean 64
KrelinSOE Origin_Alai: Maybe you subscribe to Blockbuster's Online Games Package, like a netflix kinda thing.
LarryatILG Lots to think about.
LarryatILG Not a lot of solutions yet. But they have to come....
Dai-Galean Solution will always come with the bright minds that come out of the univercities
KrelinSOE That's what we need! Bright minds
LarryatILG Ok, now you are scaring me DG..
RichL_SOE Right after they are taught to un-learn most of that stuff that crowded their head in the university =)
LarryatILG No need for that kind of talk.
Dai-Galean we grow ever more forward in this industry from console to pc. Change is and always will be a constant like death and taxes
LarryatILG And being twisted....
Dai-Galean true
Dai-Galean That is why we love this industry Larry
Dai-Galean :)
LarryatILG yeah, me too!!! Ain't it great!
UnknownPlayer Now for our last question:
UnknownPlayer - style="vertical-align:top;" DarthMalignant Question for the guests : Wouldn't the PC playerbase and the console playerbase need to be segregated? After all, it seems console gamers demand a different experience than the majority of PC gamers.
KrelinSOE This is such a Tyrant question
Origin_Alai I thought that stuff was illegal now.
Tyrant We need to get great at making experiences that scale across multiple platforms. It is a huge design challenge though.
UnknownPlayer lol
LarryatILG So true
Dai-Galean nods * UnknownPlayer hands tyrant the gauntlet
KrelinSOE I think Tyrant would ban all the console players. ;)
Haden For now, yes. As we've been saying, you need to design differently for the console player and console strengths than you would on a PC.
Tyrant the community issues are probably the biggest
Tyrant platform religions
Origin_Alai Just make 2 different games and make them twice as good. * Dai-Galean shivers
RichL_SOE Darth: That depends pretty highly on the game type. Planetside would work well with a cross PC/console audience as an action game, but others might not. The key is there can't be a significant advantage (frame rate, visibility, communication options) to one environment over the other, even if gameplay is entirely cooperative.
Haden But someday, someone is going to come along and design a game that is platform agnostic and can be played on both.
Tyrant I love all players equally, even the banned. :)
LarryatILG I think that if sofware follows hardware, we have to have systems that will support and then someonw will do a Sims Online or something that will cross platforms and make ****pot full of money.
LarryatILG Then, everyone will want to do that for awhile and we'll get some of those clones.
LarryatILG But in the short term, they'll probably be separate.
MBJ Which is a shame.
RichL_SOE It does become a logistics nightmare to try to keep mulitiple platforms in sync client-wise
KrelinSOE RichL_SOE: Oy
RichL_SOE That was a _considerable_ pain in the ass at Kesmai.
LarryatILG yep but the hardware has to be there for the pioneers to work with, for he innovators to try stuff out.
Tyrant I want my games to play from the webpage at work, to the wireless handheld, to the low end pc and even up to a gamer PC
Tyrant even on a console :)
Haden Yeah, it is too bad - I'd love to find a way to mix the communities.
Origin_Alai Mm. No wonder you're busy.
Tyrant accessibility is good
MBJ Gordon, hey, I have a great game for that. Remember Galaxy? :)
LarryatILG Yes, me too, Gordon, so I think that can be done with database games.
Tyrant long ago, far away that was
KrelinSOE Tyrant: Perhaps that means playing different aspects of the game at different times, though, given interface and other constraints
Tyrant exactly
LarryatILG Yes, that's it.
Tyrant be nice if the experience was complete enough in and of itself though
Origin_Alai There's a lot of people in Japan crammed on trains bored during commutes.
Dai-Galean The players are the same but with different devices there are many that play consoles that are top pc gamers, the appeal is not the machine it is the experiance and the difference in the games that are made for both
KrelinSOE Yeah
LarryatILG For now, DG, this is true.
Dai-Galean How do you see the changed then larry a human is a human,
KrelinSOE There will always be some divergence between the PC and the console in that sense, though... it's just a different environment.
KrelinSOE I don't even mean that in a hardware sense.
KrelinSOE I've never sat with a crowd of people and played games on my PC (mostly because my PC doesn't have a couch nearby)
LarryatILG I think that games will eventually migrate off from the pc....
Elghin What about Lan parties?
Dai-Galean me shivers at the thought of lans
LarryatILG I think a lot of things will eventually migrate off from the pc and become dedicated.
LarryatILG Love 'em
UnknownPlayer **Lets get our last words, we are just about out of time***
Dai-Galean xbox or ps2 lans ?
RichL_SOE LAN parties would be great if they just came with pre-packaged deoderant
KrelinSOE Elghin: Oh, absolutely... but that's not a "family" experience, as such... not like playing The Simpsons: Road Rage with my wife * UnknownPlayer laughs
LarryatILG Ok, loved sittin' in with you guys, hope I can jam with you again sometime.... :)
KrelinSOE RichL_SOE: s/LAN parties/smelly geeks/
KrelinSOE :)
Dai-Galean Yes this was most intersting
Dai-Galean opps
Dai-Galean interesting
UnknownPlayer Ok I would like to thank everyone for attending. The log of this chat will be online soon at
Origin_Alai What I need is a girl I can sit on the couch and play that Britney Spears game with. Moderation ends here
UnknownPlayer We are now going unmoderated please be nice verv is ban happy today
LarryatILG :):)
RichL_SOE I am very carefully not touching that one. * Dai-Galean shivers again alai you need some help
Tyrant grits teeth rather than take pot shot at Alai :) * UnknownPlayer looks to the people
Dai-Galean ok so I did
Slugeater unmoderated did he jy=ust say? :D
UnknownPlayer You all can talk now
DragonPup Dang, I walked in at the END of it?
emptyclip May the spam be with you
Slugeater Argh Haden left already...
baron_ Thanks for your time all :)
NexonJon w00t
MBJ Welcome
AS-Poweredge Sorry to interrupt...,1323,5911_151151,00.html
NexonJon free at last...
Dai-Galean Hey everyone
Dai-Galean thanks for commeing all
ILG_Aaron Thanks to the panelists!
AS-Poweredge that's the March values for Global Internet Usage
ArchTruth Yup, great chat. Where's the flood?
Dai-Galean All guest are now avaliable for punishing
MBJ [--- Ducks and covers
AS-Poweredge *lol*
Saevel *cough*
Turismo beavers and ducks * ILG_Aaron notices Haden was wise enough not to stick around for the wine-and-cheese with us Great Unwashed (tm). * Dai-Galean hads MBJ some plate and a battleaxe
AS-Poweredge One quick question about consoles and MMOGs
Dai-Galean hands
Elghin Whoever said that Voice Com is not that big a part of online gaming couldn't be more wrong... It's almost a must and is becoming the standard among gamers...
RichL_SOE Haden mumbled something about Jedi and nerf and left
Slugeater LOL Rich!
Dai-Galean lol
Tyrant voice will be what console uses when they are big in online
emptyclip Was the cloning debate touched on at all? I just got here
MBJ Hehe one they those words will be true.
Tyrant need voice fonts though
Origin_Alai Online gaming and mmogs are a little different.
MBJ one they = one day
AS-Poweredge Does the current perception of the console as a "quick-gaming fix" block development?
LarryatILG For some kinds of games, I agree Elgihin
Saevel When will the chat log be made avalible?
ILG_Aaron But, Elghin, what about the point raised earlier that it's be playing with a, say, huge barbarian character next to you onscreen, and hear the voice of a 12-year-old attached to it.
ILG_Aaron I guess I just have little faith in "voice fonts".
Origin_Alai When I played Diablo2, I didn't do a lot of in-game chatting. Too busy killing Counselors ;)
RichL_SOE No AS, it just presents some challenges in making the game design satisfy that common requirement
Saevel When will the chat log be made avalible?
baron_ As far as voice to text goes, take a look at "Dragon NaturallySpeaking"...they do a great job with it.
LarryatILG There are some tactical games where voice actually rocks, flight sims and things
ArchTruth I've got a question... where does all this processing speed for voice fonts come?
Turismo i agree im not for VC
ArchTruth Will consols have 4.0 ghz processors?
Slugeater Did you realise half the console guys only play combat----]PvP games?
Saevel When will the chat log be made avalible? anyone?
baron_ "soon"
Angus Hiya sluggy
Tyrant a voice font chip :)
Slugeater Hi Angus :)
Tyrant have to be dedicated hardware I bet
Elghin You have to understand, that there is a difference between the roleplayer, and the powergamer... I'm sure you do... A major portion of the current market is not the roleplayer as much as the powergamer... and I'm talking about instant action games
Angus Looks like I missed the good stuff
Elghin Rogue Spear for instance
Elghin Counter strike
Elghin Those types of games...
Turismo i think that you should have an option that when you type something whether an electronic voice says it foryou
emptyclip With a lot of the console RPGers going to FFXI, the console versions of SW:G might be filled with traditional mainstream players
AS-Poweredge thanks Rich... makes sense.
ILG_Aaron True. I guess when I hear MMOG I get an "RPG" reaction, but maybe that's not valid
baron_ Could a voice synthesizer be used to translate form human speech to character speech without a large impact on the processor and or lag-time.
ILG_Aaron I think for FPS type games, VC might be exceptionally cool - RPing is not a focus.
Elghin Sure... there are instances where in a fantasy inviornment you don't want some clown voicing over your ingame roleplyaing sequence...
emptyclip depends on the quality baron
Elghin But even in roleplaying games...
Slugeater Especially when you discover th ePrincess has a baryton voice. :D
Elghin If there is player interacion where PvP is a posibility...
emptyclip the voice communication in half life is awesome
Turismo no offence to anyone but can you picture a guy with a deep voice trying to Roleplay in VC
UnknownPlayer Slug: LOL
Elghin For the playes to compete voice is a must
baron_ right, with a reasonable amount of quality, it could be used as a "mask" for the player's voice where they have an option for different voices for their characters.
Elghin Even in PvE to a point
AS-Poweredge So far I've been through MMOG from back in JANET days til now... the one point that I believe is the critial point is the community aspect. That was probably the one thing that baldur's gate missed first time around, and they picked up too late and made too prominent in the cycle for NWN
ILG_Aaron What's that XBox game that's planning to ship with a mike? I thought it was a Tom Clancy shooter, where you could control your (AI) squadmates with verbal commands. Cool stuff.
Slugeater Problem is, VC coordination in PvP makes haves and have nots.
AS-Poweredge AO and UO both have very active communities
Elghin But my point is that it's out there... and those who have it right now tend to "own" those who do not on a daily basis...
io_burn Anyone who read my UO article a while back, I take it back, I might re-activate my account for their new expansion :)
Elghin The more players figure this out... the more it will be come standard
Turismo Yea say in a large scale battle game, Your charging and all you can hear is Voice spamming
baron_ That would freak me out if I was being charged at :)
ILG_Aaron El - good point. Look at PS2 online with vs. without a USB keyboard. It's just unbridgable.
Slugeater VC is useful in a MMO group scale, over this it will be ununderstandable
emptyclip Chat needs moderated channels
Elghin You'd be suprised how good some of the current voice com software is... groups... split channels... command channel... one way com for the lobies
baron_ on 3 everyone death scream! :)
emptyclip So that Leaders can broadcast to squad leaders and such
AOB-Solarax I can't see how a console could take over from PC for MMOG :/ * ILG_Aaron death screams!!!!
AS-Poweredge Just to recap what you would "feasibly" require for a console-based MMOG.
AS-Poweredge A Keyboard
AS-Poweredge A HDD
AOB-Solarax For it to do so, the console would have to evolve so much, it would be a PC anyway
AS-Poweredge anything else?
AOB-Solarax Broadband
RichL_SOE A HHD is desireable but not absolutely required
Cuintar thats a good point Solarax
AOB-Solarax You need an HHD for patch updates don't you?
Slugeater Why I don't believe in consoles: the day I play a console MMO is the day my TV can display 180x1024 resolution at least
RichL_SOE Keep in mind we have EQOA working and playable, right now, on a PS2 with just the DVD drive
AS-Poweredge problem is tho you face pipe issues and post-launch upgrades
Turismo Quick question, is it possible/are they going to make it later on in future MMORPG's that console people and PC people playing the same game, can play on the same server?
slvrswrd A Pointing device like a mouse
LarryatILG Aaron, next time you have to do the speaking, when it comes to consoles, not me.
AS-Poweredge good job I've got a PS2 too Rich ;)
Elghin There are only two reasons I would ever use a console: 1) It's instant action... I don't have to wait for an OS to boot... 2) It doesn't crash (very often) the OS is hard coded and designed around the hardware itself...
UnknownPlayer ****Everyone give April from Funcom a happy birthday!!***
ILG_Aaron This is true, Larry. ;)
baron_ Happy Birthday!
Elghin Happy B-Day April * ILG_Aaron sings a truly moving rendition of Happy Birthday.
slvrswrd Happy Birthday!
Slugeater Happy birthday April!
UnknownPlayer Im sure she will accept bribes... err presents....
AS-Poweredge on the topic of LAN gaming and upgrades... is a PS2-Server a possibility
Cuintar Happy Birthdan
Cuintar Birthday rather
AS-Poweredge spreads the ROI
AOB-Solarax I only ever use a console for multiplayer games or for games that don't exist on the PC
RichL_SOE AS, sure a PS2 can be a's got a processor, and a modem (eventually) can be a server =). How capable of one is up to the ability of the programmer and available memory.
Elghin Favorite console game ever: Panasonic 3D0 - Raod and Track's Need for Speed... Now that was a game... =)
baron_ Thank you again all for the enlightening chat, keep up the good work so i have even less time to sleep ;)
LarryatILG Hi Fros!!!!!
AOB-Solarax Console players haven't heard of "bugs" ;)
ILG_Aaron Nah - Road Rash for Genesis. Many beers consumed with that one. ;)
slvrswrd Space hulk... 3DO also
LarryatILG errr Frost
AS-Poweredge Linux for PS2 does have a use after all then Rich :)
NexonJon which road rash?
Slugeater Only games I liked on console were Super Mario Kart and Tekken
LarryatILG Ekoe, Frost, Athena Silverdance, Leto. Omigod! U101 lives!!!
AS-Poweredge and I thought it was only good for rewriting protocols to a coffee machine :)
ArchTruth I'm off, good bye all!
ILG_Aaron Heheh - yeah it does. (Later Arch)
Ekoe always gotta represent ;)
Elghin Well, thanks for the chat everyone... I like honest answers... I think some of you are certifiable of course... but at least your honest... =)
Slugeater AS, you can save my office coffee machine? You're GOD :D
AS-Poweredge hehehehe
MBJ Elghin, me? I hope so, I've worked hard to get my degee! :)
ILG_Aaron School of Hard Knocks?
AS-Poweredge bah... degrees :)
Lord__Chaos Eventually console-built mmo's will exist I just hope I never see a carebear mmo consisting of "Pick the Flower Pikachu" :
baron_ take care all
AS-Poweredge cya Baron... take care in the west :)
slvrswrd small degrees make you oblique and large degrees make you obtuse
Elghin Personally, I'm a self taught PC hardware junky. By the time consol's catch up and are competitive, I truly believe that the pc will be in the living room...
DarthMalignant Great, Lord_Chaos, you just jinxed it =P
baron_ I shall :)
AS-Poweredge same here... 17 years a programmer, and only 2 O-Levels to my name
AS-Poweredge that's the twist Elghin... the move from PC -] Console can be reversed
AS-Poweredge if they built PS's like the old ICL DRS300's, then you'd have the answer
exir just make the games for both, i don't see why they have to leave one behind
Elghin yes, I guess so... but I think the PC just has too much going for it...
Elghin Namely the Internet
NexonJon definitely a plus
Elghin I must be off... work to do... thanks for the chat everyone... hope we can do this soon again...
AS-Poweredge so, given that the driving force behind an MMOG being functional on a console is the internet, is the problem being addressed the wrong way around?
AS-Poweredge take care E and cya soon :)
ILG_Aaron They never did address my question: How do game developers/designers need to address the shifting demographic of both PC and console gamers? To wit: the Atari 2600 generation is now in their 30s, have disposable income, and consider gaming a valid leisure time activity. Less stigma. -cont-
ILG_Aaron What are the main directions we need to move in as game designers to capture that leisure time (and, eventually, monetize it)?
exir that's too confusing :P
DarthMalignant Aaron : Use existing licenses, to start.
ILG_Aaron Good. That's what I was going for.
ILG_Aaron ;P
ILG_Aaron That's a good point.
DarthMalignant Give people something they can identify with, something ingrained in popular consciousness.
DarthMalignant Look at SWG. The game will likely be absolutely huge, especially when you factor in the PS2 and X-Box releases.
Tyrant accessible content, low learning curves, compelling game experiences (compelling social experiences if online)
LarryatILG Aaron, that question was way too hard for us.
ILG_Aaron I win!
DarthMalignant Why? The innovative game mechanics are great, of course, but the fact that it uses the Star Wars license is a big selling factor.
AS-Poweredge that's the key to why the XBox failed and why there are certain stigmas attached to MMOG's running on consoles. It's the users previous knowledge and comform zone limitations
AS-Poweredge comfort*
exir it's too bad the dev's don't like voice chat, one of the best things about real life roleplaying was voice acting
DarthMalignant Casual gamers don't look at it and see "Ooh, it has an innovative crafting system." They look at it and think "Oooh, it's Star Wars. I wanna be a Wookie!"
emptyclip I think that a lot of 'older' gamers might miss the communnity nature of arcades
DarthMalignant exir, it's impossible to filter voice chat, unfortunately.
RichL_SOE ILG_Aaron: I think we all try to address the demo of our consumers as best we can. We've very aware that the average age of console players is growing older, and hence you find content on consoles (and PCs) today that was unheard of 5-10 years ago
AS-Poweredge if you can expand the horizon of the user and get them to realise that there experience will be enhanced, then you address part of the issue
saculegroeg i have never played or heard of a mmorpg before, but i am already planning to upgrade my pc for SWG... just because it is star wars.
exir filter in what way? bad language?
LarryatILG You know, I don't not like Voice Chat.... :)
DarthMalignant *nods*
LarryatILG **taking exception***
ILG_Aaron I think Tyrant is more in the zone I was shooting for: shallow learning curves, compelling *SOCIAL* experiences. I think the advantage MMOGs have over single-player gaming is that, somehow, it's less stigmatized if you play as a group. The more people who accept it, the more people WILL accept it. Dunno if I'm saying this clearly.
exir well i guess it's time for mature mmorpg's then :D
DarthMalignant You can filter text, but you can't filter voices.
LarryatILG It's just not appropriate for every game.
AS-Poweredge the Catch 22
saculegroeg isn't the target audience over thirteen anyways? cant they hear a little explicit language?
DarthMalignant Unless you make a game set with only human (or very human-like) characters, voice chat won't be appropriate
RichL_SOE social interchange must be a part of an MMO, of course. That's where the "MO" comes from =). And that transcends any particular age category...all human critters want to be social (kids moreso than adults even)
exir voice acting is just so much more fun and faster than typing with emotes *angry* :(
LarryatILG It's no magic bullet for the consoles to catch up with pcs in role-playing type MMOGs
AS-Poweredge it's not the age that's a real issue, it's the approach a player takes to a game that important
DarthMalignant saculegroeg, sure, a little explicit language is fine. But the problem is that there will be the griefers.
DarthMalignant There are, sadly, people whose only goal in life is to make things miserable for others.
AS-Poweredge that's the PvP debate ;)
DarthMalignant They are the 'weak bullies'; they can't make life miserable in real-life, so they go to MMOGs.
AS-Poweredge no-one likes losing
exir the mute button for the constant explicit shouters
DarthMalignant Ahh, PvP; I've put so many hours into debating PvP, lol.
AS-Poweredge couldn't agree more Rich... Social makes up a large part of the gaming experience in MMOG
AS-Poweredge it's having the infrastructure in place for that aspect that has been the weakness of many MMOG's
crookshanks PvP is getting exhausting on forums...
DarthMalignant Crookshanks; don't I know it =P
exir the next step is to get smarter players to social with
DarthMalignant You have to encourage players to be social without forcing them.
AS-Poweredge but you have to allow people to "let off steam" too
ILG_Aaron By making it rewarding (in game terms) to interact (socialize) within the context of the game.
exir there are too many high school kids and married people who are too attached to real life
DarthMalignant *nods* You have to design outlets for aggression.
AS-Poweredge but not at the expense of the other people
DarthMalignant Exactly.
Lord__Chaos Last thing I want to see,hear is some 10 year old social reject letting off steam though
crookshanks But the thing is...I want to fight players if they are part of a different faction...
DarthMalignant You have to appreciate that there are people who find virtual fishing a way of 'letting off steam', as well as other methods.
AS-Poweredge no.. worse still... a 30 year-old on a mission because they've had a bad day at work... far more dangerous
crookshanks And I dont see many people thinking opposite of this...Just a lot of people afraid of it, since they haven't seen this type of core in a game before...well...
AS-Poweredge a 10 yearold doesn't have the understanding of how to really damage another player
crookshanks I agree Darth...but this isn't StarFishing...
DarthMalignant One person's playstyle should not overly infringe on another person's.
ILG_Aaron Great chat all. Gotta go, coughing up a lung.
exir :presses his emote button
Lord__Chaos of course you could have the 10 year old social reject son, and 30 year old bad day at work father who both are online and both hate each other letting off steam * ILG_Aaron stumbles around for the Tussin.
DarthMalignant Adios, ILG_Aaron. * exir dances
AS-Poweredge hehe take care Aaron
crookshanks Never underestimate the power in gaming that a child owns...
RichL_SOE Just as a last note on the voice of the interesting aspects of online gaming is it allows you to be highly social but at the same time relatively anonymous and impersonal, in a way * Dai-Galean pokes the main channel
AS-Poweredge the real barrier to getting MMOG's onto a console is 75% a psychological one
RichL_SOE direct voice connection takes a big part of that away, even with voice fonts you are talking directly to another person, 1-on-1
saculegroeg i think the ultimate game must allow for anything to happen, and let nature take it's course. PVP and all... * Dai-Galean says back back you beasts
crookshanks Rich, can we do /w all Crookshanks to find out where I am, what profession I am...etc?
exir Voice Rules! SOE will know it when I make my perfect Voice game :DDDDD
RichL_SOE Many people do NOT desire to go there, that would still want to play an MMO
crookshanks To touch base with being somewhat impersonal
AS-Poweredge that's true Rich, but having a voice option is a good way to immerse a player within a group
DarthMalignant I'm actually considering trying out Everquest Adventures. Why? Because I'm intrigued at how an MMORPG on a console will feel.
RichL_SOE So you can make some games that are very well suited to voice (battle games are typical examples) but some are not so suited
AS-Poweredge but MMOG's are one of those coins that will land on an edge Rich :)
RichL_SOE the point being, that voice is a useful technology but not a complete solution.
crookshanks Voice commands as in text when I speak? or Voice commands that actually emit a sound? (sorry, did I miss somehting?)
exir if i had voice i wouldn't have to emote laughter, sad, happy, cheer, and give instant commands
AS-Poweredge true... it's part of a greater solution
DarthMalignant I'm against voice in MMORPGs. Immersion, for me, is one of the key aspects of the game.
AS-Poweredge take MW4 for example... online robot jobbie
crookshanks Ahh, I'm with Darth
DarthMalignant Voice tends to ruin this when you have MMORPGs with multiple non-human races.
RichL_SOE many people are in that same camp Darth
exir people used their own voice in AD&D games in real life... and it was very popular
AS-Poweredge it can be more immersive to have Roger Wilco running, but it's not a requirment
DarthMalignant To take the game I know best, can you imagine how SWG would feel if you heard some human talking through a Wookie avatar?
RichL_SOE In particular voice is pretty adverse to a heavily role played environment (not that we have any heavy role playing MMOs yet, but still)
saculegroeg well, we aren't going to be typing in different languages... so i think that point is weakened somewhat...
crookshanks Or, if some kid starts talkin about some random stuff that has nothing to do with the game...
DarthMalignant Voice is a good tool in small, -controlled- environments.
Slugeater Who could seriously roleplay a Gungan with VC?
DarthMalignant saculegroeg; Game mechanics garble the language so it 'looks' different.
AS-Poweredge there is a middle ground. using voice commands to activate voices
RichL_SOE It's REALLY hard to maintain suspension of disbelief when the high elf maiden next to you says "SON OF A BITCH! MY PET DIED!" in the middle of battle
DarthMalignant Especially if said high elf is a man.
Abrii hmmm a New York accent on a DAOC swordsman.... oh and what about those guys playing female chars?
Abrii hehehe
AS-Poweredge *lol*
saculegroeg o... i didn't know that!
AS-Poweredge voice activated voices. That way you save bandwidth too
Dai-Galean Power you bugging the guys again
crookshanks Would these voices be like hot keys? pre-assigned voicings...or would it be me, in my voice, thru a microphone, etc...Worried about herassment...Men herassing Women...I hear it happens
exir even if it doesn't fit in right now... voice will be the thing of the future mmorpg's... MS will make it happen... GO MICROSOFT!
AS-Poweredge *lol* Dai... I'm trying ;)
AS-Poweredge something like that
Dai-Galean figured
LarryatILG Btw, thanks everyone for coming by. Hope to see you here again one of these days.
DarthMalignant I suppose if you had voice recognition running in tandem with other game mechanics, you -could- theoretically make a pretty decent filter.
Slugeater Well, having the Great Almighty Warrior say "My mum calls me for dinner is spemmbreaking already, VC can't break it any further. :)
AS-Poweredge take care Larry... god speed :)
RichL_SOE crook: both are potential technologies, but the easiest to implement is your voice doing the speaking (usually with some kind of modified sound output so it doesn't sound exactly like you)
AS-Poweredge you ok Dai?
Origin_Alai You guys are still on voice chat?
LarryatILG *waving back*