012 – Geography Part 1 – Realms

originally published mar 2005

Instead of having separate realms for each Mythology, broken up into areas or worlds, there would be different realms for each type (ie: Underworld, Land of the dwarves, land of the light elves, land of the dark elves, etc.) that would be divided into different regions or areas based upon the various Mythologies. This post has been modified to be aligned with that new design direction.

Ummo is divided into various “Realms” that are analogous to “dimensions” in typical science-fiction/fantasy, each one based upon a location from one of the Earth Mythologies.

Each Realm is broken up into different regions or areas in the case of Realms that occur in different Mythologies (such as the Underworld, Land of the dwarves, land of the light and dark elves, etc.). As the number of players in the Underworld grows, eventually the number of Realms will expand to include more mythologies and original ideas as well.

Each Realm is is based on locations from the various Mythologies, to be shared with similar Realms (example: Norse Mythology has 9 “worlds” each world has within it multiple locations and areas). Mythologies that we plan to implement at first include (but won’t be necessarily named):

Norse, Celtic, Sumerian and Indian (with Greek, Egyptian, Chinese and Aztek to follow)

Ummo has been designed from the start to be a gameworld that is not reliant opon duplicated content and mirrored servers to serve a larger userbase. There is enough real world Mythology to supplement our original creations with enough content to continually update and expand Underworld to satisfy user population growth.

During the initial closed Beta launch of Ummo, we only plan on having Celtic Mythological Realms in place. By the time we get to retail release we plan on having more as well.

Because of the modular structure of the Ummo Universe, we can add specific Realms and areas from different Mythologies as needed to support gameplay or storyline without adding all the Realms from that Mythology at once.

An example of this is in our Chi and Martial arts abilities. Chi abilities are one of the many schools of magic available to players in UMMO. Like all other schools of magic, however, they require a teacher to learn from. One of the first schools of Chi ability that the player will have access to is found on the mystical mountain of Kun Lun (part of chinese mythology).

While there are no plans to incorporate our whole subset of Chinese Mythology into Underworld even during it’s initial retail release, there WILL be a way for the player to transport themselves to Kun Lun mountain in order to learn the mysteries of Chi ability from one of the sages there.

As the Ummo team have the time and resources to do so, we will add in the rest of the areas, characters and skills that are a part of Chinese Mythology to the existing Realms.

In this way, we can always add new Realms and individual Realm locations as needed by the storyline or the Ummo player community without disturbing the overall structure of Ummo.

We look forward to populating the various Realms with a multitude of wondrous characters, locations and items culled from all sorts of myths and legends as well as our own creations to serve as a nice glue to tie everything together.

In addition, the fact that many denizens of Ummo will travel between realms, in addition to the players themselves, it is highly possible that the technology available and used in the different realms as well as the skills and knowledge possessed by denizens of those realms will change as time goes on.

The layout, politics and locations in the various Realms will be modified according to the player actions, interactions and the storylines that those events have on the Realms and citizens thereof. This is what we call our “Living Realm” system. This means that we won’t simply be adding new content to Ummo Realms, we will also be modifying and changing existing Realms according to the development we feel they would naturally be experiencing.

Of utmost importance to us here at Ummo is that the Universe be a dynamic one that realistically reflects the changes that can occur to any cultures when they are exposed to alien cultures, individuals, technology and art.

We have studied many many possible ways to handle these issues, and have studied the efforts of other, larger corporations, to allow for a dynamic world. Frankly we have come to the conclusion that only constant modification of characters and gameworld maps by the dev team IN ADDITION to constant additions and subtractions to/from those worlds can have the desired life complexity.

Ideas such as this are the reason that we have a whole year between internal beta testing and public beta testing. This is also the reason why we will initially start with only two realms and expand slowly.

Chances are likely that until we have a user base large enough to fund a dev team of sufficient size to modify the Realms on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, we will keep the modifications of the Realms to a minimum and assume that only the players themselves are making frequent journeys between Realms.

Only testing will decide how easy or difficult it will be to implement our “living Realm” system. Nevertheless, it is part of our philosophy that complex programming cannot provide the simple elegance that human intervention can bring to RPGs whether they be pen and paper, or computer-based.

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