- Markshire PCs:
Before you guys decide what to do, you have to decide what the goal is. You also have to decide if the projected future work in man hours (multiplied by 2.5 because we always greatly underestimate the actual effort and multiplied by 2x again because these are not day jobs and RL steps in more than occasionally) required to get the server to a running state compares with the kind of player population you hope to attract.
A couple of things of note in addition to what has already been said. NWN1 and NWN2 currently both average approximately 200 total players at any given time in the roleplay tab. On NWN1, about 2/3 of these players are either on Aerlith or Amia; the two 500lb gorillas of the NWN world. From observing their respective communities, I’d reckon that these worlds keep a lot of players on NWN1 that would otherwise uninstall it. This means that there are probably 60-80 concurrent players that are actually available. The NWN2 situation is less dire in some respects and more dire in others. It is less dire because it does not have any behemoths like Aerlith or Amia; meaning more players are potentially up for grabs. It is more dire because it never reached the kind of critical mass that NWN1 did and is also past its player population peak. An NWN1 or NWN2 world is a mod, so you always have to take into account the current total player populations of those games, as well as the shelf life of AAA games in general.
If you want to have a world for weekly runs, MS1 as it is fine. If you want to have a world that had a large enough player base to maintain longevity, then there are certainly not enough available players on NWN1 as if you have anything less than 40 concurrent players and you won’t be able to sustain it over the years.
The Non-NWN options for a MS3 are better than prior years; still not what I’d call superb, but slowy getting there.
Realm Crafteris probably the best bet in 2009 for “rapid to launch”. People complain that it does not “scale well”, but it has been used in many projects, it has a large dev community and “not scaling well” means that it does not elegantly support 100+ concurrent players.
You can still download and use the Torque MMO Kit, though it is getting long in the tooth. It is in fact the MMO Minions Of Mirth, made open source without the art content. The current TMMOKit works with the original Torque, though some of the TMMOKit users have been working on porting it to work with Torque3D, which is in Beta. That work is coming along well and T3D looks to be a godsend in terms of productivity; especially with its road and river editors. When I’ve got Angela to beta, I’ll use it to build Epoch on T3D, using the TMMOKit/Minions of Mirth server landscape backend.
Shameless Plug – Speaking of Angela (the interpreter for Memotica), at current progress rates, I should be ready for beta by Christmas. This means that Memotica will be usable. Memotica is the PW design language that I’ve been working on. It lets you do things like think of how you might like to have a hidden-name/alias and disguise system and then rather than leaving it as pontification on the forums, actually cook it up in an evening’s work. As I said, I’ll be using it to build Epoch, but I’d be delighted to collaborate on subsystems with another team.
Second Life – seriously, this might be an option. There have been roleplaying realms built on it – more than one it seems; though to be honest my SL knowledge is slim to nil. Lavendula worked as a dev on one for a while, so you could ask her about it.