About a year and a half ago, I started a project to create a sci-fantasy sandbox MMORPG. It was called Starborn: Universe. I went through the trouble of getting a HeroEngine/HeroCloud environment and began learning the toolset. Design documents popped up in my Documents folder and on the dev blog I started for the project. Then, I got busy with other things, and Starborn: Universe went dark.
I’m dusting off the design documents, but Starborn: Universe is as much of an experiment as it is a game. See, my theory is that online player-driven games can start with very little and grow over time. The idea of the “Lean Startup” can apply just as much to an MMORPG as it can to an iOS app.
The trick is that MMORPGs are hard to produce. They have a lot of moving parts and require a lot of resources on the part of the developer and operator. So how does one or two people accomplish this monumental feat?
By starting small, and iterating quickly.
If you’re curious as to what I have in mind, head over to the Starborn: Universe devlog. That’s where I’ll be writing about Starborn.
The last time I posted about Skyrim, it was shortly after release. You can read the first in the series here. At the time, I was playing on the Xbox 360 version. This time around, I’ve purchased the Legendary Edition for PC. I’m also playing a Destruction mage instead of the heavily armed and armored warrior I focused on in the 360 version.
Besides taking a completely different character route this time around, I’m also focusing much more on quests other than the main line. I own a small house that I’ve built but not yet furnished, gotten a fair ways through the College of Winterhold quest line, and continue to light up vampires that seem to crop up all the time in areas I’m traveling to.
I heard so many awesome things about mods for the game that I just had to get the PC version. That, and I couldn’t take screenshots in the 360 version, which was infuriating for someone who blogs about games. Today, I read an article someone reblogged on Reddit about a mod called Falskaar. Falskaar is unique in that it was produced chiefly by a 19 year old who declined to go to university in order to produce the mod. It took him a full year, and he’s aiming to get a job at Bethesda by proving his dedication.
By all accounts, it’s a damned good mod. I look forward to installing it when I finish with vanilla Skyrim.
If you’re interested in hearing further about my adventures in Skyrim, by all means, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, next week I’ll be writing about a topic near and dear to my heart…. sci-fantasy sandbox MMORPGs.