12 Jan 2010:
Three teenagers had a dream. We wanted to make a fantasy MMORPG like Everquest.
Back in the day, it seemed so plausible–we went looking for help and set out to learn to be game developers. I was the programmer, Joe the designer. We gathered friends, worked hard, learned lots and ended up with Born to Rule in 2006:
Our team then split up for university. Working throughout high school gave us a feel for just how hard it was to do something like this. The sheer volume of content and code was intimidating. MMORPGs being pretty much uncharted territory for start-up game developers didn’t help either. Nevertheless, we knew it could be done. There was Xenimus. We had all been addicted to playing it in one of its long-lost (and significantly better) forms. It was also completely developed by one person.
Having kept tabs on the game, I saw an opportunity: people hated that they loved Xenimus. It had been through so many revisions since its inception that it was practically a different game with the same appearance. Just as I was about to start my first semester at Cornell University, I made a post proposing an open-source competitor over on the fan website XenTales. Project Volucris was to be a throw-back to a version of the game that prevailed around 2001. Being a much more simple game than what we had first attempted, this seemed feasible. I went ahead and started it up closed-source, and as nobody seemed interested in helping with the programming, it ended up staying that way.
Project Volucris was my learning experience. It took a couple years (and more rewrites than I care to recall) but I steadily progressed toward coding something that would be a playable online game.
After lots of hard work, pre-alpha rolled out in 2007. More work, alpha in 2008. Erich and Joe officially joined the project and we saw the opportunity to create a true competitor, and not just a copycat. Evidyon was born in July of 2008. That winter, Joe and I decided that it was finally time to do or die. We commit, completely, to finishing this project before senior year or give up and move on.
The summer of 2009 was spent, for me, living entirely on savings and almost entirely at my computer. Fortunately, it finally yielded success: Evidyon, our real-time, fast-paced, multiplayer online role-playing video game became a reality. World editor, special effect design tools, 3d model pipeline, dozens of spells, hundreds of custom items, working character models with varying equipment, 150 planned levels of balanced player advancement, chat, guilds, a “Geosid” system that allows ownership of world areas, item marketplace, storyline and history, NPCs, many kinds of monsters… we finished nearly everything we had set out to do.
In the end, nothing lasts forever. The time comes when even a successful project must be declared “finished.” We are about to graduate, and we need to decide what to do next in our lives. Still, it just doesn’t seem like packing Evidyon up and putting it in a corner is the right thing to do after thousands of hours of work went into it.
The good folks over at the /r/programming sub-Reddit inspired me to start this blog, and gave me confidence that others would be interested in seeing how we made an MMORPG in our spare time.
I hope you enjoy Evidyon. We sure have.