About 18 months back, I had a pipe dream of making an MMORPG. Yes, I know its the most difficult project to tackle, and no, I’m not a 15 year old kid.
Moving along, what started out as an innovative, yet simple 2d, isometric design, exploded into a full-scale 3d vision (at which point, we discovered JMonkey). Apparently the idea had more concept than even I had thought. We currently have a team of about 10 developers, including 3d modelers, animators, programmers, graphic designers and sound composers; and we are now actively seeking investors.
Obviously in the last year and a half, we’ve been through a lot of stress; working for free and with minimal staff, but have made some great progress.
The project is called X-Shift, and is a dystopian, cyberpunk game. The initial release will take place in a single city (approximately 15 miles wide). This is NOT a high-fantasy, swords and sorcery game with a sci-fi paint job. Everything has been designed specifically for this world. Players will be able to become Police Officers (within a working legal system), corporate CEOs, genetic engineers, doctors, musicians, computer hackers, mob bosses, bounty hunters and a LOT more.
Using Project Darkstar on the server-side, we are also planning to create this as a single instance world (every player will be playing together on the same “server”). This means that player actions will actually be able to drastically alter the ongoing history of the world.
There are also plans to have mobile extensions for the project, as well as desktop widgets. Players will be able to get in-game updates via cell phones, instant messengers and email. This game will also be compatible across all standard platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux).
We are looking to fill a few more positions on our team. These are all currently volunteer positions, however, after we secure funding, we will be setting up a physical studio in central Wisconsin and all active members of the team will be offered paid positions if they’re interested. (We are a registered company: Phoenix Concepts, LLC)
We are seeking Java programmers for both client and server-side programming. We are using a modified version of the JMonkey engine for the client and Project Darkstar (http://projectdarkstar.com) for the server. Obviously, experience with either of these is a big plus.
Check out our website! http://xshiftonline.com
Join the forums and show your support!
Check out the music and screenshots!
And, for the love of god, donate to the project before they shut my power off.
Here are a few images from the game.
And we LOVE feedback.
Good to see, that your project is still alive. My project somehow died due to inactivity and lost motivation
I'd love to help in your project, but i'm not a jME or DarkStar expert (even not a beginner i would say). But nearly 20 years of software development have made me a good software developer in general, i'd say
I guess your project is and will be closed source, is that right? If i can take a look at your sources, i can tell, if i can be of any help. I'm pretty good in keeping software extendable and sustainable. Those are the most important aspects for a long lasting MMO.
Anyways, if you or your colleagues have some ideas for tools to help you in the process of game development, it might be a good idea to put those tools into MonkeyWorld3D, where i am a proud member yet
Thanks. We're actually just now starting to discuss developing our scripting to add actual game features. We also have plans to develop desktop widgets for the game, as well as communication with instant messengers, email and mobile devices. And, of course, our world editor is a constant work in progress.
By software developer, do you mean programmer (or some managerial sort)? If so, what languages do you work with? Even straight Java programmers could be of great help to us. Anyone else on the jMonkeyWorld interested in lending a hand?
In the last couple days, we've really been pushing X-Shift into the public eye, and I'm working on a big remake of the website (the 4th or 5th revision now). So we could also use some talent and creativity on that end.
So what's your area of expertise? We have plenty of work to do here. OR! If you have no hard skills, but are just filthy rich, there's a handy Donate button on the site
Actually i am the head of development of a small software development company. Expierience in Java, C++ and mainly software design. Sounds like you don't have any code yet, is that correct?
How many programmers do you have on your team?
My primary experience is in gui development with most of it coming from jME and bui. How heavy are your in-game gui needs? Are you using jME 2.0 or 1.0?
Looks awesome. Great job!
Khanstruct is the leader of the project, but since your questions were about programming, i take the opportunity to clarify things. I've been on this forum for long time, and some may know me for having some weird ideas, but i also contributed some useful code, and i'm sure its worth reading this clarification. Don't know if this will make any good or bad impression, but i take the freedom to tell the state of the project as-is, since we are truly desperate.
X-Shift had a big team last year (in 2007), but my guess is, since this is a (for now) non-paid project, the fluctuation of team-members was big. Fluctuation was so big, that it had several restarts, since when a key member left, most of the job done by that individual was lost. People left without notice, and left their part of the project unmaintained. Art assets (models, music) is available, and is just awesome. I could not ever imagine a futuristic city as it was modelled. Its no wonder, one of the modellers was (is?) actually an architect. There was one programmer working on the project on client side, and another is still working on the server, as time permits since he is a student. There was an in-house demo which allowed loading of OBJ model, and you could fly trough an area of the city. It was made by Lex.
The city in X-Shift is a huge area, and the design plan is that the player will be able to travel this city seamlessly, without loading pauses. Clearly there is no way that the whole city geometry and textures will fit into memory. The best approach to do this is to load needed stuff in portions, in advance, just before they are needed for rendering, and discard them when they are not needed, and wont be need any time soon. I read Khanstruct's post on this forum, and said to myself, that there is no way it can be done using current jME. All the small objects, the huge number of loaded and discarded direct buffers will trash the memory, it wont work. If it would work somehow, it would be a huge task to make it work, and it would be terribly slow.
I jointed X-Shift somewhere january this year, under the condition that we rewrite the jME core. A "Clean slate, fresh start" (i was playing Tabula Rasa at that time :D ). Some code was taken from jME1.0 and some code from jME2.0, as needed, but only what is necessary for the game. My approach to handle the huge geometry was, that everything should be packed into geometry packs, and those should be in such a state that no processing is needed after loading, just to put it into a single large OpenGL VBO. This approach is the best what you can get performance wise. Textures are pre-scaled and pre-compressed (see http://www.jmonkeyengine.com/jmeforum/index.php?topic=7931.0). What previously took 2 minutes to load, now loaded almost instantly.
Next step was making a world editor. MonkeyWorld3D was considered, but since we have a specific case, we needed a specific world editor too. It is always expanded as new features are added. The last feature added so far is lights. The "scripting" about what Khanstruct wrote, is actually about adding triggers and animations (doors opening), and a scripting language support in the game and the editor. Today both the game and the editor is in a state, where edited areas can be loaded into the game.
Unfortunately Lex left the team. His vision was that we make the engine part of the game open source, he worked allot to clean up and fix the messy code i was writing, so that its enjoyable by others, not just by me. On the other side the drive on the team was that we make a presentable demo, so that we can present it to potential investors, get investment, and can do full-time progress. I preferred the second (doing a demo), and still would more like to see some of the improvements put back into jME, or the whole project kept closed source, than maintain an open source project. This can give some idea about the state of the code.
We lost a whole month on that b*tch called Maya. Getting animated models exported properly is painful. First try was with MD5, but it just produced an empty file. Another try was using cvxporter and X (directx mesh) models. It turned out that it exported the geometry properly, but bone transforms were trashed below the second level of the bone hierarchy. Just when we thought of switching to 3DS MAX, we solved exporting models to X with another exporter. Its still a tricky business, it takes 15 steps to export models properly. X models are currently skinned on the GPU, with fall-back CPU skinning in works. So we got our first character animated and walking in the demo.
Currently there are 6 people who are active on the project. There is some unfinished code in the game, by people who left, or by me, because other more pressing features needed to be done. The server programmer made a working chat, that networks with DarkStar. Its written on top of FengGui, but i'm sure switching to BUI would not be a problem.
To finish this long story, we are close to producing a demo, but we are short on programmers and animators.
We need dedicated people, who will stick to the task and use their knowledge to produce functionality as fast as possible. Nothing is guaranteed, but once we got that demo out, we can show the proof of concept, around which the whole MMO is to be built.
… what he said^
Yes, to be clear; I am the lead designer, graphic designer/GUI Guy and general producer on the project. Essentially, all the torturous things our team has to go through are due to my crazy ideas. I do, however, understand the basics of programming (I've worked with scripting languages and several web languages, and I've also dabbled in C++ and Java). I am NOT a programmer by any stretch of the word, but I can at least understand most of the lingo and can explain things in pseudo-code.
As Vear guessed, yes, we've gone through a lot of team members over the last 18 months; as we expected. So we have had to "start over" a few times. In fact, since X-Shift was originally planned to be 2d, that was a BIG start-over.
However, the demo is coming along much more smoothly these days and we will have something presentable soon. We are also talking with potential investors and even perked up the ears of 2 of them today.
And yes, someone to focus on the GUI programming would be a welcomed addition.
Thanks for all the comments guys! We love hearing your thoughts!
So your project is somehow organized as an open source project, but you yet have not decided, what licence to use. I know it's hard to keep things together, when there is so much fluctuation.
You considered MW3D as a world editor. Let's talk about that. MW3D is going to be released as version 4.1 very soon. I dont want to announce it here in this thread, but there are some great enhancements with the latest version. Now MonkeyWorld 3D is not a game editor, but a game editor platform. It is intended to be the ground for creating project specific editors. We know that every game project will need its own toolset, and MW3D is here to aid those tool developers to get their job done faster, because they don't have to start from scratch. It follows the philosophy of the Eclipse platform (a game editor for everything and nothing). Eclipse already has proven that this works, MW3D still has to.
So here's my offer:
After we have released version 4.1 of MW3D, we dont want to keep on developing in a "vaccum", so we would love to have a real world game project, that needs some tools. We would then extend our platform to make it possible for that project, to create their project specific plugins to MW3D. We would even create those plugins for that project.
And when we look inside the project, while doing that, we might find some other parts, where we can contribute. Tareq (aka Outrunner) is a jME guru, and he always has amazing ideas.
What do you think?
Hi guys I wanted to come in to say hi, my name is James aka SGTKOOLAID lead art director. I think it is safe to say we have done alot with a little. We have had the unfortunate experience of flucuating teammembers coming and going. This is due to their misunderstandin perhaps, or impatience with the project being for the foreseeable future a volunteer project.
It is true we are in talks with investors, 3 to be exact in which we hope to finalize our business plan and send it to them for consideration for funding. Nothing is garaunteed in this world, we can only hope we dotted our I's and crossed our T's. We have worked hard, and come a long way at the current state we are in. With a completed demo on the horizon we hope to stir the industry a bit. We have alot of good ideas and concepts we are setting in motion with this project. Although our team is little we got some talented people I have a background in architectual engineerng from Polytech and a digital media degree from Pratt.
We have few guys that went to Full Sail, someone who worked for the DoD. pretty snazzy pool of talent if I do say so myself. BUt I wont lie its hard work, I am a firm believer you risk nothing, you gain nothing, and we have risked alot and given alot ourselves for this project. So I wont lie when I say We need people who are as dedicated and determined to make it into the industry as We are. I have played alot of MMORPG's beta tested alot of them , and even helped do a complete graphical overhaul oF Snow Island FPS using Dark basic Pro. SO i have a pretty solid understanding of MMO's.
I have an infinity for this project as I am tired of Generic medieval swords and socery MMO's despite the concrete success it has had. Its time for change, its time for innovation, its time for the evolution for MMO's. We hope to achieve that with Xshift. just as an army is nothing without its soldiers, Xshift is nothing if it doesnt have people standing behind it willing to go that extra mile to make it happen.
As per the Monkey3dworld editor I have tried it and I made the firm misunderstandng of it being a self contained editor. So I apologize for that lol. mah bad. I would definitely like to work together if Phillip(khanstruct) and vearare willing so we can perhaps streamline the process of getting things finalized and if monkey3dworld can help alleviate or speed up things by all means. We will of course, eventually turn this into a closed Source project and garner the necessary license but until then We are in need of talented individuals to assist in making the project happen and become a reality. But I do not want individuals to come on the team to start, then leave and have stuff they haven't finished have to be trashed and reworked, this merely slow things down and complicates matters. SO if you are infact willing to participate in this endeavor by all means notify Khanstruct or vear directly for your assistance.
"Ask not what Xshift can do you for, but ask what you can do for Xshift." lol (couldn't help myself) but let me take my leave if you have any questions please feel free to go to xshiftonline.com for updates, or throw me a message here.
So here is our current needs:
Programmer for Darkstar/Fengui
Animators (rigging, animating)
If i were to give an unbiased opinion: the rendering is not that good, but the art is superb.
In august i asked programmers to join the X-Shift project, which is aimed to be state-of-the-art, but there was not much response. HouseMDave did join the team, and made networking with DarkStar work, but he has school-time now, so not much help is available in programming. Sorrily my work on this project is in kind of hibernation now partially because of that, and partially because of the next reason too.
You cant make a state-of-the-art game using just Java and jME/LWJGL. You will sooner or later hit the low-frames/seconds wall, you can try optimizing/nerf the game to get back to usable performance, but then its not state-of-the-art any more. I did hit the wall, although i have rewritten/optimized parts of the engine multiple times. The next thing for me to try is to go C++, and try to move out low-level functionality from Java.
it looks very nice, i can't really comment on the performance thing tho , i never used other engines.
But i guess with such big scenes you will run into performance problems sooner or later, no matter which engine you use.
Will be Ok if you multithread the jme core …
Nice screen shots. There are a few things in jME that will help speed it up like VBO objects and DisplayLists(which are supposedly deprecated, but it can still be done). Also, multi-threading will help, plus jME 2 will most likely have performance updates since it is in development.
Nice job! However, I'd say that if you aren't able to get realistic graphics working well, go for stylization. You can still get graphics that look really good, but it's a lot easier on the hardware.
About 18 months back, I had a pipe dream of making an MMORPG. Yes, I know its the most difficult project to tackle, and no, I'm not a 15 year old kid.
Grrr... Vear, What's wrong with being 15 years old? Age-ism! You are assuming that if you are 15, then you are bad at game programming or can't make an MMORPG, or that I can't work as well or as hard as you. I take this as an insult. :|
Because when you're 15 you have a maximum-ish of 3 years of programming experience, and usually MUCH less than that.
I usually act younger than that…does that count?
Actually that was Khanstruct talking about he not being 15 years old, for having the wild idea to make an MMO. But with age 15, the goal shouldn't be making an MMO anyway, its more important to learn as much different things as possible.
It does not, cause you do it in a consistently resolute way.
how do you map this game?
i.e. what programs, are the buildings models, what programs are they modelled with?