The Lawless Online - Old West MMO Game (Canceled)
The Lawless Online is brand new multiplayer only, Role Playing Strategy set in the Old West
Let's start with the fundamentals -
How does the game work?
The game is built using pre-rendered 3D sprites. That's a line that I have thrown around quite a lot in the last few months on this project, but what does it actually mean? Well every asset in the game - houses, saloons, fences, trees etc. is modelled and textured in a 3D package (in this case - Autodesk Maya). Every one of those models is then rendered individually with all the same lighting and rendered with an isometric camera from 4 - 16 angles. These renders are simply now just 2D pictures with a transparent background. An isometric camera has no perspective and fits within a grid. If you want to know more about what isometric projection is then check out this cheeky little wikipedia page.
So the question is why would we choose this method over a more modern technique such as using actual 3D models in a 3D engine.Well, put simply, 2D images don't take anywhere near as long to load as 3D models, although you lose the flexibility of a 3D model. But we want this game to work on everyone's computer whether it's your old laptop you haven't used for years, or a brand spanking new machine you have only just bought.
How do you start playing The Lawless Online?
When The Lawless Online is released you will be able to download the game from our website once you have created a (free) account. While the game client is downloading, you will be guide to create your character. Your character is your main unit in game and will be your avatar and you on the website. When creating your character you choose his name, age and a brief history. You can also choose his appearance in the same way a lot of online games do where you can choose different eyes, noses, cheek shapes etc. You need an account and a character to play the game.
From the website and once you have signed in, you then have access to the character management tool box. From here you can edit information about your character, make friends, create and join gangs.
What do you use The Lawless Online website for?
One of the main uses for the website is the character management tools. Within the Character Management Tool pages you can tweak the way your character plays. You can do this by using Skill Points that you have gained through leveling up when you have gained enough XP from executing various tasks. Killing enemy units, capturing buildings, using new weapons, gaining unit veterancy and many other activities are the sort that reward you with XP. every Character Level requires a certain amount of XP. When you level up you are given Skill points to place into Abilities in a certain Mastery. If you are not familiar with this classic RPG system, then get the hell out! Ha! Only joking, but if you are not familiar, then it may at first seem quite odd.
Each user is given a choice of a Mastery (or 2). There is a choice between - Offensive, Defensive, Stealth and Business masteries and within each of these masteries are a tree of skills that skill points can be placed in. When a skill point is added to one of these skills, that ability is now accessible to your main character in-game. For instance, if you are a Stealth character and you have placed a skill point in Sneak, then your unit is now able to sneak undetected for a set amount of time. Upgrades can be achieved by placing more than one skill point in it. For instance, the duration your unit is in Sneak mode can be increased by having more skill points in it.
What's the deal with your character and then other units in-game?
At the beginning of every match, you have only one unit - your character. He is a specialist unit in the sense that he has more abilities available to him than a standard unit. He also looks the way you want him to look and starts with certain bits of equipment you have chosen for him to start with (on the website). Other units in game can be hired from the Saloon. These units are controllable randomised 'men' that are controllable by you until you can not keep paying their contract. At any point you can cancel your contract with them, but you lose that unit.
Your character also has a slightly larger inventory than that of your bulk units. Units hired from the Saloon can be equipped with 1 weapon and 2 pieces of equipment, but your unit can use 3 bits of equipment.
Skills unlocked through the website can (mostly) only be used by your character, so it is important to keep him alive!
How do you win a game?
The idea is that each player (or gang) needs to be in complete control of the town you are all in. Every building starts off neutral and it is up to each player to capture the buildings. Some buildings offer more than others. For instance a house can be captured and expands that players territory, but a captured Saloon allows players to hire units and upgrade techs. If you capture a Gunsmiths, you can purchase weapons for your units and upgrade a few techs etc.
The aim of the game is to be in complete control of the town. That means capturing all specialist buildings in the town and a countdown starts and signals the end of the game for the losing player(s).
You can also win the game (depending on the game mode selected) if you manage to kill every one of the enemy player's units.
How does combat work?
Every unit, including your character, has an inventory and the game world is full of items that you can either purchase from particular buildings, steal off dead bodies or find in stashes around the map. You can then equip these items in your unit's inventory. Each weapon and piece of equipment has several different benefits. For instance a hat can shade the units eyes from the sun and give a boost to accuracy. A pair of high quality boots are more comfortable and hard wearing to withstand more intense useage and can add an increase to sprint duration.
The important thing to be aware of, is that if your unit is a sharpshooter then you would equip him with a rifle with long range and a hat, but would be almost completely pointless to equip him with a rifle and a pair of high quality boots. Although a unit with a high rate of fire, short range revolver would benefit a lot from increase sprint duration, so you really have to be aware of what you want each unit to do and customise their equipment to suit it.
We have also incorporated a system into our game engine that allows us to place area of effect boosts and decreases depending on where they are.
When we create maps we look for places around it that would be of an advantage or disadvantage to a player's unit to be there. For instance, a unit on the top of a rock face will have increased range, a unit around buildings or in ditches has an increase in defence, but a player in open ground has a decreased defence and so on.
This means that each player has to be aware of where their units are and where they are going to attack from.
Everyone starts by creating an account on our website (which is still under construction). From the Account pages on the website the Player, you, can create a new Character. This Character is the main Character in your game. He or She can be anything you want... A Bank clerk who is seeking revenge for the violence against his family... Or a General Store owner who is tired of being harassed by bands of Outlaws, or just a bat-Schmidt crazy Outlaw hellbent on killing everything and everyone - Whatever you want, it's up to you! The more creative the better and these stories will help build the world of The Lawless Online with it's own user-created history and culture.
Once all the information has been set up about your Character and chosen what he/she looks like, you can start playing the game via a downloadable game client!
Let's say you have joined a game and it's a 3-player free-for-all match.
Each Player in the game starts with one unit - their Character they created on the website. They also have two resources - Notoriety Points and Cash.
Cash is the main resource. With Cash you can purchase Units, Equipment, Tech and maintain a healthy economy.
Notoriety Points are an in-match level system. So the more Notoriety Points you gain from killing people, capturing buildings etc. the more buildings, equipment and techs you have access to/
MAPS & BUILDINGS
Every map in the game contains one or more Towns and each player's objective is to have Persuasion over the whole Town by securing the Town's important buildings such as:
Houses are the staple to the Towns. Although they are common they are extremely useful. It is up to each player to "capture" these Houses to gain territory and gain Notoriety Points.
OR you can choose to Rob the building and get a quick injection of Cash but you make the building inactive for a set amount of time.
Saloons can either be Capturedor Robbed like every other building.
A Saloon generates Cash per minute, capturing buildings like Saloons are vital to secure a good stream of income to fund your efforts. It is important to protect the ownership of these buildings and fight to capture other player's Saloons.
The Saloon also allows you to Hire Men. Once a unit has been hired, the unit costs per minute. But the unit is under your control until you sack him, he gets killed or you run out of Cash.
Gunsmiths can be Captured and Robbed like every other building, but they also generate Cash per minute.
Another benefit is items can be purchased (using Cash collected in the game) from these types of buildings and you can equip your Hired Units or your Character with them.
There are many other buildings but it would be a waste of time to go through them all, so imagine a map that has a town that consists of these important buildings and you and the other opposing players have spawned in different areas of the map.
It is every player's objective to capture the town and fight for possession of buildings and land that may tip the balance of power.
UNITS & COMBAT
Ok, so now time to discuss combat! Each unit in the game has certain abilities and stances (depending on items and weapons you have equipped them with). It is important to learn the different attributes a certain weapon or item bestows on the selected unit.
For example a unit with a rifle has better accuracy and reload time when in a crouched firing position than when running around, although a unit equipped with a revolver isn't affected much by a crouched position but gains a fire rate boost when running around or charging.
Along with the changing attributes of items and equipment, the whole map is divided into areas of effect. So if your unit is, for example, standing in the middle of a road in the open, he/she suffers a dramatic decrease in their ability to take damage and can easily be surrounded. Although a unit perched on a hill gains a Range and Damage bonus which can prove useful when covering other units that are capturing a building.
Due to the constant cost of the units and shifting building ownerships, each player would only be able to reach a unit count of around 6 or 7. This means that each man counts and it is vital for the Player to choose equipment, weapons and tactics carefully in order to win fights that may break out.
XP, SKILLS & MASTERIES
The difference between a good player and a great player will be about who has learnt how to use the terrain to their advantage and equips each unit with the best set of stuff. But that's not everything. Everything you do in-game is recorded and translated into XP. At the end of the game, this XP is transferred to your account on our website and you can use the Account panel to "Spend" earned points.
Each Character has a choice of several Masteries. As an example, one of these Masteries is Attack, another is Business. These Masteries then contain a set number of skills and abilities - some passive and some deployable and are unlocked when Characters reach a certain level.
Each level awards the player with one skill point. For example, at a high enough level a skill in the Attack mastery is Charge. Once a skill point has been added to Charge - the unit can use the Charge ability. The Charge ability has a recharge time, but the more skill points you add to Charge, lower the re-charge time and add Speed for example.
Risks and challenges
The team behind The Lawless Online are half way through development on a role-playing strategy game based in the turbulent and violent towns of the Old West, but the funding goal is needed in order to complete the web systems, outsourced development and help with initial hosting costs. The team aim to produce a “fun, free and deep Role-Playing Strategy game that will be free from micro-transactions, subscriptions fees and paid DLC and accessible to everyone, for free - forever. “
Projects on this scale just can't be completed without a little bit of dollar to get things online. We have a very small team that consists of an Artist that models, textures, animates and graphic designs all the elements of the game. A Programmer that is building and coding all of the game engine from scratch and all the tooling, a musician who is consistantly cracking out quality tunes and a graphic designer who helps create all the nice little buttons and helps composite all the game assets.
But we are missing an essential part of the team - A strong, consistant Web Developer. We have been through several web developers in the last few months but none have been able to commit the time and effort required to get this bad boy up and running. Most have full-time jobs and can't sacrifice the time without any payment.
A large chunk will go to paying off the Web Developer, but we also need money to help pay for server costs to host this project, and as we want to make this game free, forever, getting an income with be a slow process and we therefore need help paying for all the hosting costs for the foreseeable future.
Along with all those, we also need additional funds to help outsource some work from musicians, sound artists and animators.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (15 days)