Emerald Online (Minecraft inspired MMORPG)
Emerald Online is a voxel based MMORPG indie game. The project was inspired by Infiniminer, Minecraft and other games of this genre.
Emerald Online is an indie project developed by a one man team based in Toronto, Canada. The project was inspired by Infiniminer, Minecraft and other voxel (grid block) based games. The game's uniqueness is that it is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) with a consistent world. Unlike other voxel based games that are completely randomly generated, Emerald Online blends auto-generated landmasses with consistent areas where all players can interact. These key areas make up a huge world consisting of areas that you can visit and re-visit, to create a living, breathing world.
State of the Project:
The project has been under development for about 6 months and is still in pre-alpha stages. It currently could be described as an elaborate game engine, or an early playable game. I have reached a point in development where I have a very stable working code base with a lot of potential and I would like to increase the team size to speed development and content creation. This is why I have decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to get funding to start a small team.
Emerald Online now has a development blog so people can follow along and see how the game is progressing:
But isn't this just Minecraft with high res textures?
On the surface it is obvious to see that the look of the game is heavily influenced by Minecraft. However this is only superficial, and the similarity ends here; the code base for Emerald Online is 100% original and isn't based on the Infiniminer source code that Minecraft uses. Additionally, the gameplay and character progression in Emerald Online is very different from Minecraft. The character will progress through a leveling and skill system to become stronger and have the ability to wield more and more powerful items. In this way, the game has more of a similarity to an MMORPG style game, much in the vein of Everquest or World of Warcraft. Where Minecraft places more of an emphasis on creation, Emerald Online places more of an emphasis on exploration, completion of quests, progression and the increasing strength and impact of your character. World creation will play a huge role in the game, but more so for the creation of guild houses, farming, and for the assistance of exploration and mining. For example: creating wooden blockages to stop cave-ins, and creating pipelines to move water through to a mining installation.
Some, but not all of the currently working features of gameplay are:
This video showcases the crafting system. The player is able to combine materials for the creation of various items. Example: iron ore + magnetite = compass on anvil. Another example: wood + kindling + flint = bonfire on 2x2 ground space.
This video showcases the user interface including item selection, equipping items, and swapping tools. The bottle is swapped in and it shows interaction with the environment scooping up water. Next is the incomplete mapping window and options window. The final three windows are exclusively for myself in development of the game (these will not be in the final version). But for interest sake, I quickly show turning on and off some of the rendering, increasing tool speed and increasing the global view distance of the world.
This video showcases some of the environmental effects, including a rainstorm, lighting and a sunrise.
This video showcases some of the terrain generated by the game engine. For the sake of clear sight and brevity, I do a fly-over to show the landscape. For people interested in the technical side of how the terrain is generated, I turn on the chunk markers (this won't be included in actual gameplay) to highlight where each chunk of terrain memory starts and ends. At the end, I demonstrate a preview of the mapping window and a quick overview of the world map.
This video showcases block destruction and digging into the ground. It also shows the use of the lantern to light the way in a dark cave. Some of the mining is purposely sped up to show block destruction faster.
Why don't you see my face or hear my voice in the videos?
I am a one man team, and I have next to zero acting and narration skills. I have no video production equipment or know-how. What I do have, however, is excellent programming and development skills and a game that is deep in development that I can showcase. So what I am showing is the already working project so supporters can see what it is they are backing. I had considered hiring someone as a spokesman for the project, but this seems slightly dishonest, because that person would have nothing to do with the project's creation.
One World Online with friends:
The Emerald Online world is a massive consistent world. This is going to be accomplished by having key areas global for all players. But still having zones, that are instanced and randomly generated for either solo, groups or guilds.
$5 pledge or more: Acknowledged supporter on emeraldonlinegame.com
$10 pledge or more: Have your name engraved in an in-game monument.
$25 pledge or more: Access to closed beta.
$40 pledge or more: Access to closed beta and development forums.
$80 pledge or more: Access to closed alpha in mid 2014.
$200 pledge or more: Access to the pre-alpha version of the game right after the kickstarter campaign is up.
Created by a gamer for gamers:
This game is being created for you, the gamer. The inception of this project was a thought I had one day: "wouldn't it be great if...?". I've been a gamer most of my life and a hobbyist / indie game developer for the last 6 years, I've been following the rise and fall of subscription MMOs. I've seen the conceptual split of the sandbox MMOs and themepark MMOs (sandbox MMO: do anything you want; themepark MMO: go anywhere you want in our world, but we have a set of quests and a linear story for you to follow). When I played Minecraft, I couldn't help but be amazed by its simplicity and elegance. For a game that is essentially blocks, the potential is limitless for what can be created and destroyed...the possibilities are endless. So then, wouldn't it be great if...I could give gamers a compromise between a sandbox MMO and a themepark MMO. This game would have the freedom of a sandbox to do anything you wanted, to go anywhere you wanted, yet still have a quest and progression system to follow. This was the inception of Emerald Online. So in practical terms, what this means for the game is taking a leveling and questing system, within an online world, and adding elements of a block-based world. You might have to mine for key elements to a quest, or optionally, you might explore a dungeon or kill a boss to complete the same quest.
I want the gaming community to have an influence on the development of the game and I have designed my reward system with this in mind. I need peoples feedback on the process so that I can develop a game that is more fun and rewarding for people to play.
Some future features currently in development include the questing and quest reward system, the battle system, and the mapping system.
Risks and challenges
The challenges of creating an indie MMORPG: Why I need Kickstarter
Creating in indie MMORPG by yourself is probally a bad idea. A game like World of Warcraft has hundreds of people on its team working on it. The chances of me making anything by myself that could ever make a dent in that market is 0%, even if I had the necessary talent and I sat in front of my computer everyday until I was old and grey and did nothing but code. The scale of the project is just too monumental to undertake.
But if we throw away the notion that graphics make a game good (if graphics make a game, why is Super Mario Bros still regarded to this day as one of the best games ever?) and I put the CPU to work with cleverly constructed terrain generation algorithms to do most of the content creation, what I have is the potential to create a world, that is almost limitless, and endlessly engaging. And this is what I've done. However it has become clear to me that this still isn't enough, because if I keep working at my current pace, I will have a game ready for release within 3-5 years. What I need is a small organized team (me + at least 2 more) of dedicated people to make this happen in a reasonable time frame (8 - 12months for beta release and 1.5 - 2 years for final release). This is where I need the help of Kickstarter, and you the supporter, to help me make this game a reality. If i can put together a capable team I have no doubt in my mind that this project will get completed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)