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How APB's Persistent World Will Work

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the very-carefully-and-with-guns dept.

Games 33

Edge Magazine recently sat down with David Jones, creative director for Realtime Worlds, the studio behind upcoming action MMO APB. He spends some time talking about their thinking behind the game, and he also gets into how their persistent online worlds will work. Quoting: "... you absolutely want 'moments' in the game. Even if it's just for thirty minutes, you want people to become celebrities — OJ Simpson on TV with the police chasing after him: you want those kind of moments in the game. We can't create them, so it's about what mission can ultimately lead to those kinds of experiences. We have what we call heat mechanics in the game, so if a criminal has just been on a complete rampage, recklessly blowing stuff up and killing people, heat builds up until eventually we unlock him to every single enforcer on the server. It's not part of their missions, it's just that this guy has become number one wanted and everyone has the authority to take him down. That's a fun mechanic from both sides; everybody who's a criminal is going to want to reach that and if you're on a mission for the enforcers you'll see that guy and wonder whether you should break away to get him. You get a lot of compound stuff which we never planned for, because it's a hundred real players interacting in ways we don't expect."

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Am I missing something? (2, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 5 years ago | (#29062537)

I thought the whole concept of persistent world meant you could build up your characters (level, skills, possessions etc). If you keep swapping between good guys, bad guys and celebs, how is it persistent?

Re:Am I missing something? (2, Funny)

Yoozer (1055188) | about 5 years ago | (#29062589)

If you keep swapping between good guys, bad guys and celebs, how is it persistent?

Hey, Hollywood hasn't magically disappeared since it was founded in the 19th century, so I'd call that pretty persistent.

In the mouth! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29062553)

I fucked your dead great grandmother!

Re:In the mouth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29062947)

i can't believe you admitted that, second cousin.

Legitimizing trolls (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29062583)

It sounds interesting, but I have to wonder about the long-term viability of a game based on legitimizing trolls. As we've seen on many discussion boards, trolls can cause a huge disruption with their presence. They say outlandish things, or do things which irk the existing audience. This leads to retaliation and "troll hunting" which doesn't serve the purpose of discussion or anything else. In the end, the troll is as successful in proportion to the disruption he causes.

So what happens when the prime motivator is to be a troll? There were several pure troll sites a few years back. Adequacy.org, Kuro5hin, and GNAA were all sites dedicated specifically to trolling. It ended up being mostly a circlejerk and these sites are no longer around or are so diminished in audience as to be moot.

I have to wonder what the result will be in APB when everyone is seeking their 15 minutes of fame. It sounds like something that may be fun for a short while, but when everyone is out to whore attention, the players lose their personal connections to each other.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | about 5 years ago | (#29062751)

I have to wonder what the result will be in APB when everyone is seeking their 15 minutes of fame.

Yeah, sounds like the Employee of the Month Award in The Simpsons, where the plant is contractually obligated to give the award to every employee at least once. Real fame is rare, and some players simply won't be good/outrageous enough to reach that level. So, you either end up with people getting disillusioned with the promise of the game, or the concept of "fame" gets diluted so much as to be worthless.

P.S: Excuse my ignorance, but was Kuro5hin actually a site devoted to trolling? Not that I ever read it, but I was under the impression it was a run-of-the-mill discussion board like Metafilter.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (1)

Swizec (978239) | about 5 years ago | (#29062807)

So, you either end up with people getting disillusioned with the promise of the game, or the concept of "fame" gets diluted so much as to be worthless.

But that's what makes the game realistic! If fame actually meant something that'd be boring, people actually _want_ fame to be meaningless while having a big face value upfront. It's why we've created the concept here at the biggest MMORPG everyone plays.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 5 years ago | (#29062969)

If fame actually meant something that'd be boring, people actually _want_ fame to be meaningless while having a big face value upfront.

I don't think so. Many gamers want to be famous, like fata1ty famous. They know that contrived famousness isn't for real. They know that the "big face value" isn't all that. See for example, the recent "Pranknet" story for example - that group seemed to largely consist of bored gamers (who also happened to be sociopaths).

Re:Legitimizing trolls (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 5 years ago | (#29067087)

As long as you get to beat [youtube.com] (skip to 3:40) a confession out of a punk, I'm up for it.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#29063097)

P.S: Excuse my ignorance, but was Kuro5hin actually a site devoted to trolling?

I think thats a meta troll from BadAnalogyGuy. Not sure why he is putting on this act though. Maybe he wants the attention.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29062861)

Actually, k5 wasn't about trolling but most regulars did like to join in on the silliness. Of course, eventually the real trolls took over and started doing dumbass things like harrassing regular users for their religion, sexual preferences and the like.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | about 5 years ago | (#29065983)

It sounds interesting, but I have to wonder about the long-term viability of a game based on legitimizing trolls.

APB is basically Grand Theft Auto but multiplayer on a larger scale.

And GTA gameplay itself in single player was about doing troll things to the NPCs but now you are going to direct this to other players.

That said, its all PvP so its like calling people who taunt in Counter Strike and Halo trolls. I mean they are but its basically all smack talk because you basically can just shoot them on an equal basis (depending on your current weapon) whereas in an standard WoW MMO, you often can't kill each other or the levels are so imbalanced one person pushes a button and ganks the other player.

And lastly, the idea of smack talk and trolls make sense to a game which is about gangs vs gangs and police vs gangs.

Like the good old Jets vs Sharks where people are going to talk big and then rumble... The gameplay is designed for that.

Personally I'd like to play as a suit and tie FBI agent and then take the law into my own hands, but that is just me.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 5 years ago | (#29066393)

Replace troll, trolling, trolls sites, and other related terms with serial killer, murdering, murder simulators, and other related terms and the parent could have been written by Jack Thompson. Thank you, BadAnalogyGuy! If this wasn't one of my weeks without mod points, I'd be modding you up.

Re:Legitimizing trolls (2, Interesting)

zyl0x (987342) | about 5 years ago | (#29067489)

Please pardon my excessive optimism for a moment, but I think there's a pretty good chance that for every troll that wants to be the biggest, most annoying criminal in the game, that there would be a player who wants to be the famous hero who brings him down. There are a lot of gamers that don't want to be the rampaging criminal, and want to be the good guy instead. Personally, whenever I'm given the choice between good and evil in a video game, I always take the good path. I think being evil is usually the cheap way out of situations. I don't find it very fun. I'm sure there are many others out there like me.

Community driven moments... (5, Insightful)

RuBLed (995686) | about 5 years ago | (#29062601)

I'm under the impression that such things are created and made famous (or infamous) by the community itself. Much like the community discussions regarding WoW's Leeroy Jenkins and EVE's various treachery, corporate drama and ISK embezzlements that make it into mainstream gaming blog and news sites.

Re:Community driven moments... (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | about 5 years ago | (#29063265)

What is this, funny friday or something?

If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (3, Interesting)

adamkennedy (121032) | about 5 years ago | (#29062795)

It's that when game designers come up with ideas like "And then we'll unlock him to everyone, and they'll all hunt him blah blah blah" (where designers try to intentionally create spontaneity) is that it USUALLY fails to take into account cycles of adaptation.

If someone has managed to become the number one bad-ass on the server, is it really worth going after them when they almost certainly did it specifically to attract people into a trap/gank?

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 5 years ago | (#29062973)

It depends what "worth" it means. In EVE, you've always mindful of the potential loss if you get raped, but I doubt that the consequences of death in APB are going to be particularly onerous.

So even if you are driving into Obvious Trap Alley, being a victim-participant in that experience may be fun in itself, just to see how badly it's possible to get ganked.

Different games, different reward and loss schemes.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29063271)

Another issue is the troll or nefarious player may be using a hijacked account to get someone in trouble. In most MMOs, if they keep to the TOS/EULA, they won't get groups or raid spots. However, in EVE, Lineage, or Darkfall, getting someone a bad rep would ensure they get podded or just repeatedly ganked so it is impossible to play that character or account.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29063011)

I see this going two ways. The way I think it's going to go is there simply won't be a good enough reason for people to stop whatever they are grinding and go after this character. There won't be a reward that will motivate people. The other way it could go is that they make a great reward worth bothering for, in which case the biggest guilds will find a way to exploit or camp around the game mechanics to get it, reliably, every time, locking out everyone else. It will be on lockdown, just like, say, the outdoor dragons were in vanilla WoW.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (3, Insightful)

tygerstripes (832644) | about 5 years ago | (#29063719)

I can honestly see it working if it's an emergent property of the mechanics rather than a deliberate attempt to generate "spontaneity".

On first reading, it gave me the impression of working in a similar way to the original GTA games, whereby if you kept up a rampage, more and harder forces were dispatched to stop you. It took some skill and determination to keep that up for long, especially when the National Guard came out.

If, in the same way, it is difficult for a criminal-player to be that brazen and bad without getting stopped, then only the really skilful players will manage to become notorious enough to warrant their 15 minutes. Presumably the rewards - and fame - for stopping said criminal will be significant because it will be a similarly difficult achievement. Essentially the game's mechanics are inherently pitting the best good/evil players against one another, by emulating the real-world notion of expanding the net and pouring more resources into the bigger crimes, which would be a good thing and would encourage skilful players on both sides.

Essentially, it doesn't matter why criminal players go on their sprees - troll or not - so long as only the best players make it while the unskilled trolls get weeded out before they can start. As long as you gain fame by being good at the game rather than by being annoying, I see no reason why this couldn't work.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | about 5 years ago | (#29063915)

And you have the risk of casuals crying because they can't enjoy all the content or achieve the same as the power-players do, like it happened in World of Warcraft

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (2, Interesting)

phoenix321 (734987) | about 5 years ago | (#29064257)

That's the usual difference between skill vs. level as the character base. Skill based means YOUR skill, level based mean YOUR freetime. Both concepts need adjustments or alternatives so the "disadvantaged" (low skillers or low freetimers) don't get mauled up too much.

If I had anything to say, I would offload all low-skilled, high-freetime gamers to WoW and not deal with any of them. Game mechanics to protect those mouse-potatoes are only needed in a politically-correct "everyone-gets-a-prize" kindergarten environment which I absolutely detest. A game can be fun without having skill, but an ultra-hard to find "Death Maul +15" to reward months of mindless grinding is totally unwarranted IMHO.

People with high skill should be rewarded, no matter if they've invested much or few of their freetime. That would be the most realistic aspect of a realistic-looking game and people get an incentive to either develop skills or look elsewhere. That almost eliminates griefers, as no one without skill should be able to successfully troll the whole pack and people with skills and troll-attitude are rare enough and can't be reasonably distinguished from other high-skillers.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 5 years ago | (#29072133)

There are more low skill then there are high skill people. The Game mechanics to protect "those mouse-potatoes" are there so that they continue to pay to play every month.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | about 5 years ago | (#29075027)

I would dare to guess that about 49 in hundred people have a lower than average skill in any given game, while another 49 percent has a higher than average skill.

That doesn't tell us anything about motivation and fun, as millions of low-skilled people playing football and soccer, quake and counter-strike can attest.

When the game mechanics are manipulated to alleviate "skill" with "time invested" it's either because of the need to collect more monthly fees or out of a kindergarten worldview, where "everyone wins a prize in any competition to not be sad".

A highly talented, highly skilled player should always be able to beat the low skilled no matter how many hours those mouse potatoes have been dabbling away. BTW, a well-made game that rewards time invested much more than skill or talent possessed will always have a huge addictive potential.

And they just feel weird and reek of grinding and jobless dropouts.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | about 5 years ago | (#29063953)

If someone has managed to become the number one bad-ass on the server, is it really worth going after them when they almost certainly did it specifically to attract people into a trap/gank?

If the reward is high enough; yes, it's worth it.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (1)

iainl (136759) | about 5 years ago | (#29064463)

Even the number-one badass on the server is going to find it difficult with 99 cops after him in a single instance.

Re:If we've learned nothing else form EVE online (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29067005)

It depends on how well the 99 coordinate. If they all are chasing behind me they'll suck. If they work together to control the route and cut off options until you're trapped it's a different story. Does anyone know how the game will work communication wise? Are you auto connected to the people on your mission or only to your clan on teamspeak? I think it could be good if as random people join to assist they auto join the communications.

Think of it as a giant game of TFC Hunted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29065171)

A good game is one that can make you stand up and scream victoriously when you pull off something amazing.

Taking out the fat man in Hunted a split second before he made it in the garage was such a moment for me many, many times.

SO jaded from playing Eve Online... (1)

AugstWest (79042) | about 5 years ago | (#29065187)

...that the quote "that's a hundred players" sounds almost weak to me.

There are nights when you gather over a hundred people into a single gang, and it's still not enough to fight the bigger gang of opponents. 4-500 people per side in a fight is normal these days.

Still, APB sounds like fun.

Re:SO jaded from playing Eve Online... (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 5 years ago | (#29068891)

The game play mechanics are different. I only played Eve for a short period of time, but the environment seemed pretty simple. Everyone is out in space. In that environment there isn't much processing power required to generate... nothing. Space is nothing. It is just a vast open nothingness. When all the server and client machines have to account for are other players it is easier to scale up to hundreds upon hundreds of players.

APB seems to be more like GTA on a massive scale. It takes place in a city. There are vehicles, and pedestrians and many aspects of a persistent world. Did you take a look at the screen shots? Those graphics are gorgeous. The APB world is a city. You have to expect a trade off. There are only so many processing cycles to go around, and a lot of those are being chewed up by generating the environment.

More buzzwords! (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 5 years ago | (#29065267)

Procedurally-generated, dynamic content in an upcoming MMO? Next you're going to tell me it's going to revolutionize gaming!

I'm REALLY looking forward to this game (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 5 years ago | (#29069157)

I grew up playing roleplaying games, and also playing computer games. I always enjoyed the simulator games and liked the idea of being able to explore different worlds. My friends and I always wanted games that were more interactive. We wanted 'real life' like environments to interact with. For me, Syndicate was a huge leap in the right direction. That was one of the first games I remember where you could destroy the environment. The zones themselves were limited size, but the game itself didn't limit your actions inside the zone.

APB looks like it could be the game changer in the MMO world. I've been looking forward to it ever since I first heard about it a couple of years ago. It promises to deliver a fully persistent world. When playing the GTA games, I always dread the end of the game because that means the game is over. Once the story ends, you're left with this great interactive game world but nothing to do. APB seems to be aiming to fix that. I hope that they succeed. There is so much potential. The article mentions that the players are the center of the game, and their interactions define the game. I'd hope that there are also NPC aspects of it. For example, a criminal might want a politican killed. In that case, when the criminal players take that mission, cop players could be notified that a contract has been placed on the politican. They could then decide whether or not to take up the task of protecting the politican. Like wise the opposite could happen, where an NPC criminal could have an arrest warrant put out for him and then criminals could decide whether or not to help him fend off the cop players that would be showing up.

People have mentioned griefing and trolls, but the article specifically mentions that on most servers people won't be able to engage each other in combat until some conditions are met. Criminals have to commit crimes before the cops can arrest them. The article wasn't too clear on criminal versus criminal action. From reading the responses to the questions posed by the interviewer, it seems like the devs are aware of the troll/griefer factor and have different game mechanics for different servers. There will be free for all, death match type servers for players who want that. And then there will also be servers focused toward the cops/criminal game play mechanics.

I wonder how the developers will balance the population between realms. The game seems to be focused around creating groups. Given the persistence of the world, it seems like people will want to log onto servers where their friends are and take part in established groups. With a limit of 100 people per server, it seems like if the game gets popular then players will be dealing with server full messages a lot. I wonder how the developers will encourage people to go play on another server, rather than repeatedly trying to get into the ones that all of their friends have been connected to for the last hour or two.

I'd like to see this game succeed. I'm not sure that there are enough players who are interested in the GTA / FPS style of game play. The demographic would seem to be the 12-25 male audience for the most part. That is a very fickle demographic and often inclined to move from one great new thing to the next. It will be interesting to see if the character customization and persistence aspects of the game can keep the players engaged. I hope that they have some mechanics like GTA San Andreas used for weapons. The more you used a weapon, the better your aim got. Little things like that could go a long way toward encouraging people to spend more time with the game. It would also be good to see some sort of low level trade skills, like weaponsmiths making more accurate weapons, or armorers making better body armor, or technical types making better car theft tools.

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