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Making an MMO: A Dictionary of Terms

by: Milawe ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Creating an MMORPG involves a team of people and a steep learning curve. This dictionary of terms is available to help potential developers understand several of the specific jobs and positions necessary to make a successful game.

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    Creating an MMO - Your team is an MMORPG Creation Engine

    Creating a graphical MMO of any kind is an extremely daunting task, especially for anyone new to the genre. Learning to operate in this world requires understanding a very specific set of roles. A vital part of turning your team into an MMORPG creation engine is understanding the industry. This dictionary will be updated frequently, so please check back with us often. The terms you learn in this article may affect your MMO development considerations.

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    MMO Design Terms - Valuable MMORPG Creation Resources

    animators – Animators give movement to rigged models.

    animation – An animation is a series of movements given to a 3D model in order to convey a specific scene or action.

    autodesk 3ds Max – Originally called 3D Studio Max, this versatile program is used by many MMO developers, including World of Warcraft, to create 3D models, animations, and effects.

    blender – Blender is a shareware program that aids in creating 3D models, animations, and effects.

    concept artist – 2D artists who translate a designer’s vision into physical art depicting the environments, characters, and architecture.

    designer – These are the people create the plan for specific systems of gameplay. Mini-games may have whole designers dedicated solely to them.

    engine – Also known as a game engine, this is a software system used in the creation and development of video games. Engines can be fairly simple or extremely complex for building MMOs. Most engines have a tool that allow level designers to create areas. Some of the more well-known MMO engines are HeroEngine by Simutronics, the Torq 3D engine, and BigWorld Technology.

    environment – These specific 3D models are composed of buildings, the ground, water, and anything that can make up the world where other models are placed.

    environmental artists – These specific people create textures and design the models for the buildings, ground, caves, and anything that might be used to create an area.

    level designer – Level designers build areas using tools built directly into the game or engine.

    maya – A powerful software that allows integrated 3D modeling, animation, rendering and visual effects owned by Autodesk. This program is also used often by architects.

    model – 3D models are the actual items being rendered in 3D. In an MMO, this includes everything from the weapons and mounts to the actual characters running around the world.

    modeler – Modelers create 3D models using a 3D rendering program such as Maya, 3D Max, or Blender. This is a very generic term. Most modelers pick a specialty such as 3D character artists or 3D environmental artists.

    rigger – A rigger ties your model to a skeleton so that animators can do their work.

    scripter – Scripters are level designers who created scripted events for an area. Some of these include NPC interactions and basic story for a specific area in the game.

    storyboard – Storyboards consist of a series of graphics, usually simple 2D drawings, that display a sequence for a specific animation.

    UI – User interface is how players interact with the game, and most UIs are drawn by 2D artists.

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    Suggest More, Read More, Learn More

    Feel free to suggest more by commenting on this article. This article is one of many MMORPG Creation Resources located here on Bright hub.

    You may also be interested in general MMO definitions. We are maintaining a very detailed MMO Dictionary here on Bright Hub:

    MMO Gaming Dictionary - General Terminology

    MMO Gaming Dictionary - Combat Terminology

    MMO Gaming Dictionary - Character Terminology