I’ve been cruising along with infrastructure features, hoping to get a fair number of them in place so that the LoE team can reuse my server tech for more stuff.
It’s funny what ends up getting coded first, though. I started working on the player-to-player interaction system, which will let players trade, duel, play board games against each other, etc. The first step was to have a confirmation box: “Player X would like to do Y with you, accept/refuse/ignore?” So I added that tech, but in order to test it, I needed it to do something once you pressed Accept. So I looked for the simplest player-to-player interaction possible. And way, way down the list I found it: milking.
So PC cows can now be milked by other players. “Bob would like to milk you. Accept?” If you accept, Bob gets milk, and the interaction ends. It’s literally the simplest possible interaction, so it got coded first. I just never would have guessed that while making the task list.
The most important interaction I want to support is player-to-player trading. But that’s the hardest interaction (yes, harder than a simple board game!). There’s a lot of different steps to get there. But I’m adding tech that leads up to it. One such piece of tech got added this week, and is useful for another feature: storage vaults.
Storage Vaults (And Related Places to Dump Crap)
In some MMOs, the “bank vault” is really just a special backpack. It travels around with your character, but you just can’t access that “backpack” unless you’re at the bank. That makes it incredibly easy to implement, and avoids tons of special cases. But the down side is that you can’t have too much stuff in the vault, because all your backpacks are always in server memory, and server memory is scarce.
I wanted to avoid that, so Gorgon’s storage vaults are stored in the database separately from players. This means I can have a lot of storage available to players… but not all in one box. There’s a sweet spot of about 100 complex items per storage container; when there’s more than that, things get a little bogged down. (Retrieving all the info from the database takes a tiny bit longer, and sending all the info to the client takes a bit longer, too. Nothing earth-shattering, but better to avoid it.)
So my plan is to have a the traditional “inter dimensional” storage, a la WoW: no matter which Bank you go into, your stuff is the same. That’s the main storage vault, and it costs a lot to buy slots in there.
But I’ll also have lots of other small storage areas. For instance, if you become good friends with an NPC, they might let you store a few dozen items in their home chest. (Those items only exist in that chest, so you have to trek back to it to get your stuff… but that’s gameplay, not a flaw!)
This also means I can have some location-based decisions. In a busy city, extra storage slots are hard to come by. Out in the boonies, you can store a ton of stuff for cheap, but then it’s a pain to transfer.
I’ll also use a related system for consignment vendors: when you’ve befriended a shopkeeper, you can give them a few items to sell in their store for you. But that part comes later. Everything happens in little steps!
Special Request: Ulfoi
One of the cities in Project Gorgon is under constant attack by a horde of demons from another plane of existence. They can’t be bargained with or reasoned with and they won’t stop coming. In other words, they’re perfect classic video game monsters that you can feel no remorse in killing.
I was basically thinking of aliens from Aliens, or Zerg from Starcraft, or maybe even a fantasy version of Borg. Later it occured to me that this monster also fits the same ecological niche as Olthoi from Asheron’s Call (a game I worked on long ago). So to amuse myself I named them Ulfoi as a kind of homage.
They have a few similarities: they’re both a little reminiscent of Aliens, and they both have a scary queen who’s a boss monster. Here’s Will’s initial sketch of the queen, an egg-laying tentacle beast:
But when you get down to it, they’re not very similar at all. Olthoi are insects while Ulfoi are demons. The only reason you’d likely even compare them is because I gave them a similar name.
So that name is a problem. I’m afraid people will say “you stole that from Turbine” or other such nonsense. And really, the name “Ulfoi” just feels like… it’s trying too hard to be clever.
So… does anybody have a better name?