Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Project Visitor has been recognized as the first massively multiplayer online game with both first-person shooter and real-time strategy elements. Project Visitor was released in 2000 as 10six and was originally produced by SEGA. Following SEGA's budget cuts the game has since been supported by a fan base under its new name.
The game environment is essentially identical to a first-person shooter. The "avatar" can equip gear and weapons and attack other players. What makes this much more interesting is that each player owns territory(s) with assets. The player base is divided into four "corporations", each with very unique attributes. Any player can attack other players of other corporations to expand his empire (called "camps") and defend them with stationary weapons (turrets) and server-controlled moving entities (rovers).
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Game play in Project Visitor is unique to say the least. All the action takes place on a planet named "Visitor" which has entered our solar system. The four corporations spread themselves across the planet with their camps. Transportation between camps is done by teleportation and specific location on a planet has little strategic value (however, as in real life, there are some cases where a location or camp number may appeal to someone). Camps are destroyed and reclaimed by teams of players, constantly shifting the power between corporations. Once a player builds up his empire, he depends on his "Mutual Defense Network" (MDN) to defend it. An MDN generally consists of (no more than) 20 members of the same corporation who usually play hours that complement one another. With an active MDN, a player can sleep with the satisfaction that his assets are protected by the others online.
Each camp you own beyond your "main" camp is open to attack while offline. Every camp is a microcosm for a typical RTS game. Attackers (and there are often more than one) will enter the camp in first person with their army of rovers and attempt to destroy the infrastructure. Behind each camp lies five "transium wells" which provide the power for the automated defenses. Beyond that, the defender may have team mates who receive an alert of the attack, coming to the aid with rovers of their own.
While in combat, the refined nature of Project Visitor shines. Each attacker adopts his or her own gaming style. One builds according to their approach to combat (or defense). Nearly every aspect of your arsenal is customizable. The attacker enters a camp with his army, and possibly other members of his team, to stage an offensive. A typical strategy is to destroy all five transium wells and "drain" the camp of its built up energy, thus leaving it defenseless. More often, however, camps are well built and terrain prohibits this strategy and players will try to "break the line" and pick away at its weaknesses. If the player is attacking someone online, another wise move is destroying the "nerve center" which will pull him out of the overhead view and put him in the thick of the battle where the building once was. Doing this accomplishes many things: he loses the advantage of controlling his arsenal from overhead and, more importantly, the owner will not be able to try and rebuild his camp while under attack.
The player is able to modify which armor, armor modification, and weapon they wish to use (where power is controlled by the types of armor and modifications). This same process applies to your armies of "rovers". Buildings, weapons, rovers, and even the player have modifications of their own.
Everything is built in the player's camp (using the camp's resources) in buildings. Typically the player's main stores the most valuable items while they are not built, though some player's find it easier (and cheaper) to have camps just for construction (not unlike a decentralized manufacturer).
On the most basic level, each player acquires his assets from his land. Each camp will use the five mines to acquire a resource called "transium" which can be sold at various exchange rates for "visitor dollars". This money can be exchanged with the server itself for a "booster pack" of a few random items. Another option is to engage in trade with other players. Macro economy is very realistic: supply and demand of items available between players is balanced by world inflation (fairly slow) and consumable items. Tradable assets run the gambit of "rover parts" to super-rare turrets, or even land. Trades occur between friends, MDN members, or in public areas called "UN Camps".
Inter-corporation politics are typically pretty mild considering everyone is on the same side. MDNs of the same corporation will often form alliances with one another to help defend against attacks, or wage war (though this is highly frowned upon).
World-wide politics are often very formal. Everyone tries to keep things professional just incase your enemies become allies (or vice-versa). This is a feature most players can avoid. Usually only the leaders of MDNs pick targets or start and end wars.
Inter-MDN politics are the most personal. The MDN consists of as many as 20 members, (roughly) sorted by rank. Only the top three places actually have inter-MDN powers (like accepting or kicking members) while the last few places are often an indicator of your value. Unfortunately, it's on the MDN level that many players may receive the most pressure. Team members do their best to support the team and contribute to their success. When things get rough, these points become more critical and sometimes leaders are forced to make decisions that can lead to bad conflict: conflict between members of your own corporation. It is this stress that the game is most criticized for.
The game always has always had a reasonably large player base. Unlike most other games, everyone gets to know each other. Anyone making an honest attempt to help his MDN and corporation will establish a good reputation and find a lot of help in return, often even from other corporations. Dishonest players are often shunned by everyone, including their own MDN, and will find themself alone. Because of this, it is very rare for any players to be taken advantage of.
Players typically play depending on how well they are doing. It is common for a player to quit once his luck turns. It is equally as common to see the players eventually come back. The player base consists mostly of casual players, however the game is heavily run by "hardcore" players who clock as many as 15 hours a day.
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