Massively Multiplayer Online World For Go

    Keywords: Online Go

I have an idea I would like to put forward to the Go community.

It is well known that Massively Multiplayer Online games with their virtual worlds and customizable 3D avatars are highly popular.

I am of the opinion that it would be very fun and interesting to have a Go server client that generated a 3D world representation of the server that is being connected to (such as IGS). The Go players would have a fully customizable 3D avatar in which to traverse the landscape of the server being represented by a virtual world. As the 3D avatar enters areas that represent rooms on the server, they would appear, to those using other existing clients, as simply having joined the room under their screen name for the server. On the other hand, individuals who do not possess the 3D client, but are nevertheless occupying space on the server, could be represented as generic, premade avatars to users of the 3D client.

It would be a fascinating experience to physically move from one board in a room to another to observe a game. Indeed, one could, in fact, stand in such a way and zoom their 'camera' so as to observe many games in the room at once. Additionally, it would be entertaining to recognize a friend who just entered a room by 'sight,' as a result of their uniquely designed avatar.

MMO games tend to feature the ability the customize their avatar based on level of character or, in many cases, microtransactions. As an idea, the more a player wins games, more options for customizations could become available to the player. Or, perhaps the microtransaction route could be explored to finance this project. Unlike most MMOs, the genre of available avatar customizations could be very broad in range. After all, it is a representation of the personality of the individual who enjoys the game of Go, and not a representation of a character in a pre-defined enviroment (such as sci-fi, or fantasy.) In other words, an avatar of an ancient samurai sitting at a goban with a spacey android would be common place.

There does exist a virtual reality Go environment on the Second Life environment. However, Second Life's Go Center is very empty most of the time. Second Life has a great landscape of activity - but this 3D enviroment that I am proposing would be for Go players exclusively. The idea that I am proposing makes use of existing servers using a 3D client enviroment. There would, therefore, ALWAYS be lots of activity in this virtual world. Additionally, Second Life is only for individuals 18 years and up, due to some of the activities that exist there.

Of course, a simplier form of this client would be a self contained server which did not connect to one of the existing servers (like IGS). My thought was that allowing the ability for generic avatar representations of people that populate currently existing servers would create a guaranteed presence of other players for those who chose to use this 3D client.

There are, I'm sure, many problems that would present themselves if such a project was undertook. (I'm not a programmer. Not much of one, at least.) However, it would definitely add flavour to the online Go community, and take advantage in current computer gaming trends to appeal to younger players.

If this idea inspires anyone who has the know how, or you know someone who it would...please run with it!!! It would be grand! We could call it "World of Weiqi." (Like World of Warcraft...hahah! Just a little joke.....)

The whole game concept that you describing would be _very easy_ to implement by small team of programmers with expirience in 3D games and networking.

It's easy becasue:

IGO for example is using so called "IGO" protocol. Which is nothing else but simple and open text protocol. Becasue its just text it's very easy to write any client to it. You just read and parse the incomding data and send simple data to server.

Becasue protocol is open and all data (open games, users connected to server, nicknames, ranks, games and moves) is avalible it would be very easy to create simple 3d world wich would use that data that is already there. Also nice thing is that: 3d server could be totally independent - 3D server itself would be client for IGO server. IGO server would not even need to recive any data from 3D sever - ever,but directly from clients.

There is no problem with creating 3D client that would simply connect to IGO: parse the data in real-time and present it in 3D virtual world.

Lets say: 3D world would check the status of IGO every 2 seconds and:

  • if player is avalible on server: spawn his avatar into game
  • if player disconnects from IGO: despawn him.

if player is playing the game: sit the 3D avatar on the ground (in front of goban, and another player) and show the board with actual moves.

  • updates of moves would be very easy becasue of slow nature of internet go (one move every at least few seconds to minutes).

- dont display all boards - just click on player/goban that you want to observe (less bandwith wasted and cpu/gpu cyles)

  • if avatar is not playing or observing any game (for example he's chatting) let him travel freerly in 3D world.
  • depending on IGO rank, player would have bigger 3d home(from tent to castle) and access to some 3d world multiplayer adventures (while in "chat" mode on IGO)

etc. etc

Think of this as simply cgoban for KGS - but instead nice 2d interface, you will have 3D world acting as client :) It's doable and not rocket science.

Phelan: I was going to mention Second Life, but you already know about it. IGS is actually very easy to connect to and play, that's why there are a lot of clients for it. To do something like this, the best would probably be to use the standard IGS protocol to comuinicate about basic functions, and then either having a separate server to distribute the extra information, or to distribute it directly between the clients.

MtnViewMark: Wish granted: GoCenterOfSecondLife!

MJWhiteaker: Nope. Not exactly. Second Life does not provide what I have in mind, as outlined above. Due to the broad landscape of Second Life, the Go center does not have the activity level desired...and only those 18+ years of age can use it. Think of a program that is to Go as Shot Online is to Golf.

MtnViewMark: Ah, sorry, I had missed your point. Some stats: There are over 500 members of the Go group in SL, and over 100 active players at the Go Center. And yet, it still feels like the Go Center is often empty. The lesson is that it needs a very big community to feel like it is always full. Difficult to achieve! One advantage of putting in a world with many uses, is that people are more likely to be on-line, and even if they are doing other things, you can still contact everyone on the Go group chat channel and find a game, even if they are not *at* the Go Center. We also have objects that let you see at glance if there are other people at the Go Center, even as you roam around the rest of Second Life.

Not that a Go-centric MMO might not be fun - but it might be hard to get enough momentum there as well!

MJWhiteaker: Agreed. Another detail I had in mind for this 3D, virtual world client was an ability to connect to, say, IGS and have representations of games and even generic avatars of users of that server. This would populate the 3D world in such a way that the software is not simply a stand alone, virtual world, but also a client to connect to your favorite server as well. (Massively Multiplayer Online World For Go last edited by on December 28, 2013 - 21:04)

gocrazy432?: You could (?) set up buildings for different servers like KGS, IGS, DGS, Kaya, etc. So people that use multiple servers can connect and see which ones they are on by them having all their handles on one 3d account. Also, why don't people time stamp their posts? 19/10/2014 15:39 EST

Massively Multiplayer Online World For Go last edited by on October 19, 2014 - 21:43
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