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Voxel vs Vector world for a social MMO?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by JoeStrout, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
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    8,883
    I've started to ponder what my next big MiniScript project might be once Mini Micro is done. And I've been thinking perhaps a social MMO. This would be an online "game" that's not really a game at all; there's no score, no XP, no objective... it's just a place to hang out and chat and goof around with other users. You'd be able to build your own part of the world, and create new objects/behaviors/tools/mini-games by coding them up in MiniScript.

    My initial thought was to use a voxel engine. This would look and work rather like Minecraft and similar block-based games, although I would probably set the scale to 1 block = 0.5 m, for reasons I can elaborate on if you like.

    But I'm also considering a completely different approach. This would be more of a Tron/Battlezone aesthetic, where the world is composed mainly of geometric shapes rendered with bold, glowy edge lines, and favoring dark, glassy textures on the faces. Instead of digging and placing blocks, you'd build your space by drawing and extruding polygons, or combining shape primitives.

    Anybody have any feedback on these ideas? If it sounds like a place you might spend some time, which approach is more appealing? Or is there another approach entirely I should consider? (Keeping in mind that a key part of the concept is that users build & create their environment and objects online, so it needs to be something conducive to that.)

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  2. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Voxels are easier to make assumptions on, likely easier to handle data-wise. People know them from minecraft, so they'll "get it" easily, but the question is if they see an appeal over minecraft.
    What do you think is more fun to look at on a twitch stream?
     
  3. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    Personally I like the Tron-ish idea, perhaps mainly because it's different — voxel worlds are a bit of a yawn these days, and my first reaction is generally "oh, it's another Minecraft clone."

    But perhaps that's just me... that's why I'm looking for feedback. It's a pretty central design decision, not something I can easily change once I start building the engine, so I hope to get it right!
     
  4. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    I think that will be a common reaction.

    Since it's so central it might be worth doing mockup versions of different variants as just a static fake-screenshot, and testing public reactions to them. I think this might easily fail on artdirection choices. With a "tron" aesthetic I could see people finding it feels "too cold and distant" for the space to promote the kind of social interactions that you want to drive the play.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  5. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    Hmm, that's a good point.

    I guess the aesthetic is somewhat (but not entirely) separate from the mechanics. Mechanics-wise, the point of the Tron-ish approach is basically low-poly objects/environments built from geometric shapes. No reason that couldn't be done with a friendlier aesthetic — bright/pastel colors, low-poly trees and bushes, bees and butterflies flitting around low-poly flowers, etc. Or offer several different texture maps with different styles, and let the builders (players) choose.
     
    Martin_H likes this.
  6. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

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    facebook's VR mmo is colourful and bright and no doubt driven by analytics.
    for ref.
     
    Ryiah and Martin_H like this.
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