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Spaces and Meaning, how much should there be?

akabearakabear Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
edited April 5 in General Discussion
Recent conceptual designs of Ashes structures reveal buildings featuring multiple stories and likely containing multiple rooms.

I think the conceptual work is great, and look forward to seeing more.

It got me thinking;

In many Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) and RPGs in general, intricately designed spaces often serve primarily as visual elements, contributing to the overall aesthetic of the game world exterior setting only and largely omit rather offering significant internal relevance and/or gameplay meaning with the interiors as well.

While I am not particularly fond of extensive travel between distant city elements, I am curious about the potential significance of meaningful and interactive elements within the built environment in providing a sense of immersion.

In games like Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), certain cities naturally become hubs that players gravitate towards. Although there may be no explicit incentive, I've always speculated whether this preference is due to the convenience offered by easily accessible utilities located in close visual and physical proximity. This convenience enhances the usability of the city while leaving vast areas of the remaining cityscape merely as decorative backdrops.

So can, should or how might there be elements and activities both within buildings to give relevance and meaning.

Exteriorly this hopefully is addressed with player congregating spaces such as markets, crafting stations, quest boards etc where players will move to and fro to create vibrance and activity in a space.

The question arises: how and should and in what was could this disparity for interiors be addressed?






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    NiKrNiKr Member
    We'll already have in-node housing. We'll have buildings like the black market or the caravansary, or the mayor's building - all existing in and interacting with other buildings in the node. And as you said, we'll have markets, crafting stations and quest boards/locations.

    I also expect towers in metropolises, which will have several npc services within them. And the surroundings can house player stalls and other node buildings.

    In other words, I think that Ashes has the benefit of player-built node buildings that will have way more interactivity and importance than the usual design of "this is just an npc house and you may or may not even enter it".
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    DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited April 5
    I'm not really expecting to see that in Ashes because it's so focused on "No Reward without significant Risk".
    What's the specific PvP value in these interiors?
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    SpifSpif Member
    In AoC the city layout will be picked by the current and past mayors (within reason, the caravansary is always outside). Good mayors would be wise to make sure that the layout is convenient for everyday activities.

    On the flip side, there may be some PvP/node defense considerations to the layout. We'll have to wait and see if that matters at all.
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    arsnnarsnn Member, Intrepid Pack, Alpha One
    I find the social engineering aspect in mmos fascinating. A question right up my alley.

    Though im a bit confused where your question is heading.
    I think the big difference for interiors is the control who can access it.
    For example Guild halls will be exclusive and should have service or features your guild is building towards.
    So i think the interior features should be designed with the group of players in mind and their shared progression path to build those spaces up.
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    PercimesPercimes Member
    akabear wrote: »
    In many Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) and RPGs in general, intricately designed spaces often serve primarily as visual elements, contributing to the overall aesthetic of the game world exterior setting only and largely omit rather offering significant internal relevance and/or gameplay meaning with the interiors as well.

    Agreed, it's all window dressing for ambience and make cities/towns feel grand and meaningful. But it's kind of necessary for the sake of immersion.

    The sad reality is, players' avatars and the game world NPCs don't need any of this to be functional. No virtual one need a place to sleep, cook, and rest. Storage doesn't occupy virtual space, it's just a list in a menu. Bank vaults are infinitely roomy. Coinage is, most of the time, weightless. Merchants, again most of the time, have infinite resources to buy all the crap players sell them, not to mention the will to purchase worthless junk.

    On a personal level, that's why I've never had any interest in player housing. It's pointless to me, Nothing against it for those who love this kind of thing, more fun for them, but I'm fine being a virtual hobo (old meaning of the word: itinerant worker).

    Virtual worlds compress space and time to a certain point, yet they have to be somewhat real enough to feel immersive. If no actual meaning can be given to a structure, aside from its immersion purpose, just have the door locked. Players are lazy, they'll sell everything to the nearest NPC. Want to increase the realism just a bit? Make that very popular vendor (because of fast accessibility) buy thing at a lower price than those farther away or selling its generic goods way higher. Players will hate it though. :D

    Be bold. Be brave. Roll a Tulnar !
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    TacquitoTacquito Member
    Title: Enhancing Immersive Gameplay: The Significance of Interior Design in MMORPGs

    Introduction

    Recent conceptual designs of Ashes structures have ignited discussions surrounding the potential for immersive gameplay experiences within Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). While these designs showcase visually appealing exteriors, the focus on interior spaces raises questions about their significance in enhancing player immersion and gameplay dynamics. This essay delves into the role of interior design in MMORPGs, examining the challenges and opportunities it presents for creating meaningful player experiences.

    Understanding the Role of Interior Design

    In many MMORPGs, intricately designed spaces often serve as mere visual elements, contributing to the overall aesthetic of the game world. However, these interiors frequently lack substantial gameplay relevance, leaving players to explore them solely for their superficial appeal. This disconnect between visual aesthetics and interactive gameplay diminishes the potential for immersive experiences within virtual environments.

    The Significance of Immersion

    Immersion is a cornerstone of engaging gameplay experiences in MMORPGs. Players seek to inhabit virtual worlds that feel vibrant, dynamic, and rich in detail. Meaningful immersion goes beyond surface-level aesthetics; it encompasses the integration of interactive elements that evoke a sense of presence and belonging within the game world. Achieving this requires careful attention to both exterior and interior design elements.

    Analyzing Player Behavior in MMORPG Cities

    The prevalence of hub cities in MMORPGs, such as those found in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), underscores the importance of player behavior in shaping virtual environments. These cities serve as focal points for social interaction, commerce, and quest dissemination. Players gravitate towards these hubs not only for their convenience but also for the sense of community they foster. However, the disparity between bustling exterior spaces and underutilized interiors highlights a missed opportunity for deeper immersion.

    Addressing Disparities in Interior Design

    To bridge the gap between visually striking exteriors and functionally immersive interiors, MMORPG developers must prioritize the integration of meaningful activities within buildings. Crafting stations, communal gathering areas, interactive quest spaces, and NPC interactions can transform interior spaces into dynamic hubs of player activity. By imbuing these environments with purpose and relevance, developers can enhance player engagement and enrich the overall gaming experience.

    Implementing Interactive Elements

    The implementation of interactive elements within interior spaces requires a multifaceted approach. Developers should consider the following strategies:

    Quest-Driven Interactions: Integrate quests and storylines that lead players into various buildings, encouraging exploration and discovery. NPCs within these buildings can offer unique quests, rewards, and dialogue options, incentivizing players to engage with their surroundings.

    Functional Utility: Ensure that interior spaces serve practical functions that complement player activities. For example, crafting stations, vendors, banks, and auction houses can be strategically placed within buildings to create bustling hubs of commerce and trade.

    Dynamic Events: Introduce dynamic events and activities that unfold within interior spaces, such as impromptu gatherings, performances, or mini-games. These events add spontaneity and liveliness to the game world, encouraging players to revisit and interact with different locations.

    Player Housing: Implement player housing systems that allow individuals to customize and personalize their own living spaces within buildings. By providing players with a sense of ownership and investment in their surroundings, player housing enhances attachment to the game world and promotes social interaction.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, the significance of interior design in MMORPGs cannot be overstated. By reimagining interior spaces as dynamic, interactive environments, developers have the opportunity to enrich player immersion and foster meaningful gameplay experiences. Through the integration of quests, functional utility, dynamic events, and player housing, MMORPGs can bridge the gap between visually striking exteriors and functionally immersive interiors, creating virtual worlds that players are eager to explore, inhabit, and engage with on a deeper level. As the conceptual designs of Ashes structures continue to evolve, let us embrace the potential for innovation and creativity in shaping the future of MMORPG environments.
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    akabear wrote: »
    The question arises: how and should and in what was could this disparity for interiors be addressed?

    I expect Ashes to care at least as much as the FF MMOs and BDO.

    Preferably with an amount of effort put into it which is closer to the better FF cities, since the BDO ones are hit-or-miss based on the probable order of their design spaces (things being done by the environment design team and only later 'filled in' by the Econ and NPC ambience teams).

    Interiors can be given a purpose beyond 'this NPC stands here' but it's a little hard, yes. Obviously there's a type of player who just wants everything to be a menu so they can 'get to the gameplay', whatever that is, for them, but I think it's possible to design meaningful building interiors without those players having to always run back and forth to do small things, since that doesn't make sense anyway, basic actual town design will tell you that.

    This is also why I prefer the old Nodes over the new ones. The old nodes are 'formulaic', but that's more accurate to how humans construct their towns in the sort of world Verra is. The new Nodes look like they 'sprung up organically over many years with all the idiosyncrasies' which actually messes with my immersion a lot.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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