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Technical Design

Genera could be a revolution in virtual worldmaking that Second Life hasn't yet become due to its obsession with having an official economy, and its reliance on decent 3d hardware. It could be a revolution in ORPGaming because it would be open and scalable, allowing the community to experiment with gameplay and story elements to their heart's content. Lastly, it could be a revolution for a new crop of game designers who lack the programming skills to manage an immense codebase.

The concepts:

Sims -- Like Second Life, Genera uses the Sim-land concept. Each Sim is a separate instance of the server and allows for each land to have custom rules that define its behaviour, appearance, and administration. Unlike SL Sims, any user of Genera has the freedom to run their own Sim, with a minimum of setup hassle. All worldmaking is accomplished through the client. Access controls work on two levels, superuser and user. In addition, the person controlling the host machine can reboot the server with the Locked option to disallow any administrative logins.

Tracker -- Like Bittorrent or Battlenet, Sims could be networked together through the use of a tracker program. From wikipedia's entry on BT trackers: "It is also, in the absence of extensions to the original protocol, the only major critical point, as clients are required to communicate with the tracker to initiate downloads. (Clients that have already begun downloading also communicate with the tracker periodically to negotiate with newer peers and provide statistics, however, after the initial reception of peer data, peer communication can continue without a tracker.)"

The login screen features a minimap of Sims' relative geography and operational status. In order to do this, all Sims participating in a world must be set to communicate with the tracker periodically while running. While not yet logged into a Sim, the client is gathering from the tracker a table of IP addresses corresponding to the world. Thus, when traveling from the edge of one Sim to the next, queries on operational status could be handled directly by target Sim. The tracker could be queried only if there is a failure with direct communication.

Ideally, there could be countless trackers. It would be jarring to go from the edge of one Sim which features gameplay based on the Potentials gameplay concept to a neighbor that treats incoming avatars as spaceships in an r-type kind of world. So Trackers should allow those who run Sims with common interests to link up and form a larger world, rather than forcing any who run a Sim to be part of the "official" community.

Client Design -- The client is the main program. It allows you to have a user experience, or an editing experience. A separate page should be created for client design.

Some features I would like to see:

  • there is an underlying message system like in Shake, so anything can be accomplished with custom libraries of batch files.
  • tiny tiny client. no bloat
  • very simple interface. If complex features threaten to bloat the interace, they should only be accessed through scripting.
8Lots of templates. Write functions for pretty much every cool movement-style/physics/collision system you've ever seen and have them all accessible to the common user.
  • a Global Behaviour script, defines the most broad things about the world (number of screens, screensize, physics to apply to incoming avatars, etc.).
  • ability to attach scripts to objects. I feel like this is the most sensible way to do scripting for a non-programmer. Example: Ok I make an object in the world, attach chicken art to it to make it look like a chicken, now I attach a simple movement script to it so it wanders around. I dont have to go into a global script and reference the chicken and define his behaviour.
  • GUI stuff should basically be calling scripts in the underlying message system.

Avatars -- The beauty of tile based worlds is that you are represented by a BOX (or a series of boxes if you are fancy). This makes it easy to perform generalized operations on novel Avatars. Avatars need the following art assets:

  • overhead view art for walking, jumping, fighting.
  • side-scroller view art for walking, jumping, fighting.
  • Mode7 art for walking on the Mode7 map.

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