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November 06, 2005



MxO has some good physical emotes (plus you can do some interesting things if you perform regular emotes in certain positions with a friend *cough*). I wouldn't be surprised if newer MMOs take on this kind of thing as a standard, hopefully not to the demise of the gameplay though.

Ian McDonald


Skotos' Castle Marrach text-based MMORPG has a variety of emotes which only work if your "target" agrees. Plus, you can agree in advance to let someone hug (or kiss) you. That's without the graphics, of course, but (as you said) the graphics aren't beyond the ken of graphical MMORPG programmers.


Seb Potter

The problem with phyiscal actions in a game is how they integrate with fundamental gameplay mechanics. For example: most gestures in real life that involve two people require mutual consent. A hug might be initiated by one party, but requires consent to carry out.

In an MMO the issue of consent is a difficult one. Do you really want to have to click a key or interface button to consent every time someone tries to hug you or shake your hand?

Movement is another tricky issue that touches on adverserial mechnisms. Whilst in a non-hostile environment with stationary avatars actions that cannot be carried out whilst moving might be relatively simple to implement. However, imagine that one avatar is moving and another initiates a hug. Now both avatars have to be stationary, and you have a system open to abuse.

Getting this right is going to be tricky, and overcoming a non-intuitive system for interpersonal communication and action is a worthy challenge that extends far beyond gaming. Whoever makes it work will rightfully earn a place in the history books.


From a technical standpoint full 3d collision detection is a bitch to program, and especially with complex human-shaped forms the detection routines will eat CPU cycles like Homer in a donut shop. And when both are moving relative to the world and the other it becomes a really ugly mess.

From a social standpoint I really couldn't care less if my avatar was able to 'hug' some other player. (call me snarky but the amount of hugging is sometimes nauseating, and anybody using the word huggle should be shot) I think the implementation of facial expressions and gaze would have a much more profound impact on game experience.


Thanks for the link, it was a really interesting talk -- despite it being the last session of the conference, I managed to stay attentive throughout (and who said university taught you nothing?).

I think, though it's a while since I played it, that The Sims Online did standard Sims-style interactions? But as Seb points out, it's not only difficult to implement to start with, but extremely open to abuse.


Second Life is increasingly full of these kinds of resident-created interactions (although much of what's done is sexually-explicit). In fact interactive 3D "/hug" is quite common. And although I've not seen handshakes (I suspect because there are limitations on avatar animation overrides which makes hand-to-hand alignment tricky), I believe those and similar interactions have been raised by residents.


Everquest 2 has something like what you want. When you target someone your avatar's head will stay focused on that person's face as you or your target moves. If say you are a tall elf and you talk to a dwarf, your avatar looks down at them and they look up at you. EQ2 also has default moods you can set, ie happy, normal, angry, sad, etc. And when you fight an npc your face goes to the angry setting for the duration hehe.

Eric Nickell

One thing I hadn't realized was the high cost of doing the motion capture to create the animations. In the bull session after Bob gave his talk in Austin, Raph Koster (of SOE fame) talked about how much of his budget for SWG went into the motion capture for SWG's animations, and how that forces designers to trade off those animations for other features. This starts to make a Second Life type model, or some hybrid, look more interesting.


/me huggles Michiel ^-^

CoH/CoV has brand new emotes.

/em slap
/em batsmash


/me shoots LeoPetr

Reason: You were warned! :P


best pictures ever!


goodbye SWG, it was a good 2.5 years.

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