MMO Devblog — starting Volcanic Valley

Last month we introduced our vision to build and run a massively-multiplayer community game in a medieval fantasy world. We started building our world this month using tools enabled by the new menu system.

Our first game region is Volcanic Valley, centering on a sleepy, isolated village nestled in the dormant caldera of a giant volcano. We started building a 1/10 scale model of Volcanic Valley to turbocharge our builder tools and other game systems.

Volcanic Valley, portion of the riverlands, 1/10 scale

The world is made of reusable units of content called zones. The new subzone system allows each zone to contain others, forming a hierarchy. A zone might be vast, like Volcanic Valley, or tiny, like a small cottage.

A reusable zone template enters the game when we “roll the zone”. We introduce randomness by allowing each subzone to be drawn from a weighted list.

This zone has two subzones, a treasure chamber (randomly selected from a list) and The Tangled Grotto.

On the education side, I finished reading Designing Virtual Worlds — what a bible! One topic covered is the role of geography in creating community, which is super relevant now that we’re designing Volcanic Valley. I’ve moved on to Envisioning Cyberspace to get a boost of digital geography and architecture.

Subzone frequency editor. The frequency menu is generic, reusable, and will be used for other game elements.

This month we’ll finish the model of Volcanic Valley, deploy a private server for team building, and start work on the next major game system.