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Cave Story MMORPG

May 15, 2010 at 4:16 PM
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I know that this has been tried at least once, but not really fleshed out.

It is a far stretch but with a neat, complete vision that encompasses everything (which I will try to post) and good programming knowledge, competence and dedication (which I completely lack) it can be done really well and working.

So, the idea is all about making a Cave Story fully-functional MMORPG that uses very much the same basic concept as all others: Many simultaneous players online sharing a world, each with his unique password-protected character.

Of course, many would like the project to be made real... and others won't like the concept. To those who don't, please don't hate (?), because should this ever happen (unlikely, however), nobody would force you to play. This is for the ones who would like.

To give a basic outline, it will be best to tell which of the Original Cave Story elements are to be (and have to be) retained and which ones should be changed or discarded.

(anything that is kept means retaining that part of the essence of the game and also much, much less effort)

- The 2-D graphics, even the sprites. It's elemental, and one of the things that make it identifiable in the first place. The Wii graphics should probably be the ones to use if it can be, since they are the same but sharper and more detailed. However it is not a must.

- Weapons: All the weapons mechanics are ok and add flavor. (However balance changes will be made)


- The Maps: It is on the Island, isn't it? All the same maps should be there, but of course they would have to be adjusted to better fit multiplayer.

- The Storyline: It is near-perfect for a MMORPG, and on the text later to come I will explain precisely why. However, it will take place in a different "continuum" where Quote never wakes up, and will never have an "endgame".

- The Items: Basically all of them will be there and have the same functions.


- Quote. There can only be one quote and quote storyline. We will leave them aside to the original CaveStory, which is already great on itself, and to try to translate it here would only ruin it. This will be an alternate timeline.

- Default NPC Dialogue: A soldier from the surface! Not so rare or unique now huh... all the NPC dialogue should be rewritten to make it coherent for an MMORPG.

- The Game Engine: Evidently it wouldn't work for a MMORPG. A new engine is needed, be it either built from scrap or taken from elsewhere. The new MMORPG Engine should be able to do all the current one is capable of and much, much more (not in terms of graphics or actual gaming, but to manage other online-related elements that I will later further discuss)


So, "new" story: Many robots from the human invasion eventually start to wake up. Some will help the Mimiga, but others will side with the Doctor. Some won't take sides and be neutral. These robots would be the main PlayableCharacters's, but Mimiga characters would be enabled as well.
Let's start not from a structural order but from a "player perspective" to look at how the MMORPG would have to work. You download the game .exe and install it with a setup. Then you run it and you get the option to "create a character". Then you can choose...
- Character Name,
- Password,
- Take a Mimiga or Robot Char, and select a sprite from a list with previews.
- Choose your alignment (Mimigas, Doctor or Neutral)
Then you can start to play. Mimiga-aligned people would start in the Mimiga Assembly Hall, Doctor's ones in the Throne, and neutrals in the Sand Zone with Jenka.
For this to work this way, many of the maps would have to be modified and playtested to work both ways for unupgraded chars, which is hard; or give all chars booster 0.8 or machinegun, which is easy but somewhat dumb. Anyways, the alignment idea can also be scrapped and make all of the players work for the mimigas when they begin, and let them switch sides if they wish halfway trough the game when they are more movement-capable.
Now, instead of having missions to further the storyline, they would be the ones that provide you with character advancements, including new weapons and upgrades (like the Boosters and Life Capsules). For example, liberating Kazuma from the bunker in Grasstown (or BushLand :p) could give the player a Life Capsule and Missile Capacity upgrade, instead of them being scattered on the maps. The places where the permanent bonuses were before could be replaced by average hearts or encapsuled weapon triangles.
When one's character dies, there cannot be such things as a "get time back" save, so they would respawn at the last "save point"; but of course that is not as good as it may sound because they would have lost weapon power in the fight that killed them, power that, as we will see later, is not that easy to refill here.
Most "game story" barriers could be scrapped, like the need to defeat the Core in order to go to the waterways, but that is not a MUST.
People would be able to damage other players that are not of their same alignment IF both players have their PvP safeguard off. Now, that means that like in most MMORPG, quests are "eternal", that means even if you do something other players would still be able to do it and nothing in the game world would permanently change. You (and your party) would be the ones that upgraded his character by doing it... which takes us to the next part: instances. You know what a Instance is, right? Well, they will be necessary especially if the game is to have a sizable amount of players; and instead of the maps having to "regenerate" to previous states, which is hard if we want to keep all the players in the same instance, we can generate new ones and still keep the ones going on. So,for example, if a group has already pulled Kazuma off the shelter, another one can still come simultaneously to Grasstown and find is "as new". This can be hard to program specially to coordinate quests done in groups, but it's the only way.
One of the other changes in gameplay regarding to maps in to be in monsters. If we want the players to be able to have a group experience, it is impossible to keep the monsters in the "when you enter and leave a room they respawn", and so it is better for them to have timed respawns at their original places after they have been destroyed. And another thing regarding monsters: Since there would be usually several players in the same map at the same time, monsters would have to be at least 3 times more resistant to pose a challenge, and also make weapons harder to level (they would have to be even harder to level anyways, think of at least tripling the required numbers to level up and max).
A feature that should be included is in-game chat system to talk to other players, and also a console of commands (mainly for the admins to use) giving a wide control over the game.
Boss fights would be instanced, and bosses should also see their HP like tripled to be able to stand to groups of people. Bosses can give permanent rewards (such as life capsules) but just once for every player; if defeated more than once by the same people, it would only give them regular rewards like triangles, missiles and hearts.
"Storyline weapons" would be different to get, and Storyline would be adjusted, such as Toroko not dying for the flower and instead it being a "generic mimiga" (supposing mimiga population is much larger in this game, as there are many robots) that is feed with the flower. And King not dying, surely. Etc. The storyline would change in quite a few things, mainly in it having no end (No escape with Kazuma, no Doctor dying, no island falling apart) but you could also have the same boss fights, just making them "not decisive" over the destiny of the whole place and then having an enduring game world. Players that play the game an hour or two a day would take months on getting all the max life, weapons and bonuses, just like in any MMORPG.

So, what do you think?
And the most important question: Is anyone up for the challenge? :D
I could rewrite NPC dialogues, playtest, balance, etc., even help with the sprites and change of maps needed. But can't really program, especially not at this scope.

Anyways, too soon to think of realization.
What do you think of overall of the idea? What do you like, what would you change, how would it be possible? Have I forgotten any important aspect? Made a terrible mistake?
Feedback and comments welcome.
May 16, 2010 at 5:56 PM
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Well I'm not sure how this would work but I guess we can wait for Noxid's reply.
May 16, 2010 at 6:18 PM
In my body, in my head
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My opinion matters? :0
Online cave story has been postulated, and tried, many times before. I believe this is the most recent... http://www.cavestory.org/forums/threads/1983/

And this was the most successful I think: http://www.cavestory.org/forums/threads/554/ [not really an MMO but more like multiplayer modding I think? I never actually got a chance to try it.]

It's a neat idea, you've got a good basis in theory but the thing is the manpower historically just isn't there for these large-scale projects. We have a hard enough time getting people to focus long enough to finish a single mod :s
May 17, 2010 at 5:32 AM
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Noxid's probably right, but I do like the idea of Cave Story with more than one player at a time. I think an MMORPG would be a big much, but perhaps a simple* 2 player cave story mod could be possible? PvP game using the same wireless internet network perhaps. I don't know how to do anything of the kind though, and as Noxid said:

We have a hard enough time getting people to focus long enough to finish a single mod :s

I don't think that any of us have the devotion/focus/experience to create anything of the sort.

*not really simple at all.
May 17, 2010 at 6:48 AM
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Don't get me wrong, all the ideas you've posted for a multiplayer Cavestory MMO are great ideas, it's just that this is not really practical.

Since no one around these forums would really have the technical ability to create an MMO such as this, or be willing to buy servers and other related equipment to make it. All the software would be quite difficult to make, since you're not only dealing with game programming but gaming over networks.

I'm not sure wireless networks would work out (oh networking, subnetting, routing protocols, and all that jazz). If you wanted to have a simple LAN game, that would probably be possible, though a full multiplayer game would be too big to carry out.

Of course, speculation is always nice. No need to limit your ideas based on the technical capability of people on the forums.
May 17, 2010 at 7:02 AM
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I know someone who could help make a LAN game (maybe). This could be interesting!
May 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM
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It's a neat idea, you've got a good basis in theory but the thing is the manpower historically just isn't there for these large-scale projects. We have a hard enough time getting people to focus long enough to finish a single mod :s

Yeah, I know.
The only way would be to have a power-leader sort of person with the prestige to "rally the righteous" (?) to overtake this kind of worthy-but-utterly-hard-project.
I have been in some modding communities where groups of modders can really sync on the internet and make huge projects. It is exceptionally rare though.

or be willing to buy servers and other related equipment to make it
Maybe one can get a free server or something, or volunteer. Here in Argentina some people make 2D free modded MMORPGs and put the server up from "cyber-cafes" (that don't really serve cofee or anything food-related at all lol) where they usually work or own, as a hobby. Maybe some fan could ultimately provide it on good will as well.

But I am being delusional. First of all, creating anything involving simultaneous online gaming requires the dedication and work of a skilled programming. Things yet to be put in this project (although the 2007 one looked like fun :D).
The other way would be convincing Pixel and some gaming Company to do it. Which is harder than doing it home-cooked, most likely xD.
But it could be done with the Wii Cavestory, right? So it's not total wackiness ;)