Urban Dominion (formerly Dominion) is a canceled Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter developed from 2002 to 2004 by Global Gaming Innovations (G2I), exclusively for PC. Announced in February 2003, Urban Dominion offered the possibility to play for three different teams in the United States of America from the 80’s:
It’s 1983 and the world has fallen into the turmoil of political unrest with the emergence of organized crime. The wealthy crime lord mob bosses now seek world Dominion and protection of their turf against the inner-city gang upstarts looking to take on their empire and move up in the world. Outnumbered and stretched beyond their capabilities, law enforcement agencies unite under a global need for peace and prosperity. In Urban Dominion, the three teams are equally matched and the persistent world domination is all that is sought. Choose from a team and take on the world.
It’s 7:00am on a Monday morning when you roll out of bed. It’s a war zone out there and you’re just a lonely Los Angeles police detective trying to survive. There are reports of increased mob activity and a possibility of an organized crime lord coming to your town. Yesterday, you arrested yet another upstart 17 year old crazy kid sporting gang colors. These gangs are out of control. You’re at your wits end and so is your government. NCC now reports that your teaming up with police departments globally to take on these crime syndicates. It’s time to bring peace to the world.
Scrapping by in high school finally had its toll on you, it’s time for a change. You decided to join a gang three years ago, and since then things have been growing into a capable organization. You can’t depend on the police for protection, so you survive by protecting yourself. Now it’s time to show the world what you can do.
Growing up in a mansion, just outside of New York, you’ve known nothing but crime. After owning the world for years, now it’s time to move in on the government. You’re ready to take on anything. It’s time to make an empire.
Urban Dominion Technology
Based off the Quake II engine, the Urban Dominion universe explodes with technology never before released to the public. Global Gaming Innovations has created the ability to have a MMOG FPS and Dominion is the proof. By being the exclusive first to present the art of MMOG development with Parallel Distributed Management System technology, G2I expects to bring to the Open Source Industry the best that any industry can offer in a MMOG FPS game.
- 1st Person perspective, with option to switch to 3rd person
- Powerful 3D game engine loosely based off Quake 2 engine.
- 3 Team-based Massive Multi-player Action
- Support for Linux and Windows systems
- Open Source Rendering Engine (released under GPL)
- Quake 3 maps and model support for Mod makers
- Server with 100% uptime
- PDMS compatible technology
- Global, per map, and Entire player history ranking.
- Compatible Tie-ends for Parallel Distributed Management System backbone DLL (PDMS DLL is closed source and binary only available with purchase of full game).
- Monthly subscription fee for MMOG play.
- Persistent real world with capabilities far exceeding anything in the MMOG market.
Leveling in Urban Dominion
The way leveling is handled in Urban Dominion is as follows: Each player will have two separate histories in the game. One history will be the number of kills/deaths each player got per session, and the second will the number of kills/deaths each player gets per lifetime. Individuals will advance in player skill levels by acquiring skill points as they gain kills. The amount of skill points that the player gains will be affected by the level of their opponent that was killed and the method in which the individual kills the opponent. In other words, a player will get more skill points for killing a higher level opponent and/or killing with a melee weapon over a gun. Players will also acquire money as they get kills and this will work similarly to the way the skill point system works. This means that the amount of money acquired from kills will be affected by the skill level of the opponent killed and the manner in which they were killed.
When a player becomes proficient enough at the game to reach a certain skill level, things such as new maps, models, weapons, and mods become available for use. These mods and maps are where the official support comes into play. The game will be continuously developed both professionally and as an open source project. Thus, more aspects of the game will become available to the player as he/she plays and levels up.
The new game entities (weapons and models) will NOT be available for use in the older mod versions such that one can not get a sniper rifle from a higher level map and use it in a lower level map. This is to make the game fair for everyone and lets newer players get the same chance as the older ones. Urban Dominion is meant to be fast paced and very intensive, where everyone is equal in their chances to kill one another.
There are unique items throughout the game, and these items can only be weilded by one person at a time. It can be anything from a special weapon to a strong shard of armor. There is no item that will give invincibility, therefore it is always possible to kill anyone or to be killed. The unique items are dropped in the world when a player dies.
Teamplay in Urban Dominion
There will be three basic teams in Urban Dominion: law enforcement, mafia crime organizations, and inner-city gangs. Upon joining and chosing a model, the player will be moved into the category that the chosen model belongs to and be able to talk with other individuals that belong to the same category.
Players will also be able to form their own gangs, crime families, or vigilante groups. After forming a group with other players, individuals will be able to “clan chat” with only those in their gang, crime family, or law enforcement group. Forming your own personal gang will also have its benefits and drawbacks. Groups will share money in that individuals may gain a small percentage of money that other teammates acquire from kills. Groups will also share skill points in the same way, except that the individuals may lose skill points with each death of a teammate. This will encourage teamwork for those that create their own gangs, families, or vigilante groups.
Mods and Urban Dominion
This game is meant to be modified. As such, we have added as many capabilities to the engine as we’ve had time for just this fact. The engine supports MD2 (Quake 2) models, MD3 (Quake 3) models, and DPM (Dark Places Model) models, as well as .tga, .jpg, and .bmp textures. Basically, if it works in Quake 3, then chances are good that it will work in Urban Dominion. We also have plans for supporting MDS and MDL models (RTCW and Half Life respectively).
Quake 3 .bsp files are supported for map making, but the overbright feel in the lighting of Quake 3 is not duplicated. In Urban Dominion, the lighting has been modified for updated lighting techniques.
There will be vehicle support in the game upon release, but there will more than likely not be any vehicles already in the game at that time. However, anything from flying to sailing to driving vehicles are easily added, and a tutorial on this will follow release quickly.
Any modification that we accept and use as an officially supported and recognized modification will be used in the game. This will also be reciprocated by credits toward the monthly charges of using the MMOG aspect of the game (Parallel Distributed Management System account).
Maximum amount of players
We’re going to announce the maximum amount of players that are supported after the beta test has completed. We’re initially opening to 200 players, but this number will increase dramatically.
HomeLAN – How did Global Gaming Innovations come to be formed?
Daron Shrode – (…) We thought about creating a game of our own my senior year… we had a unique technology idea that we were going to put in the game to make it cooler. That idea ended up being the Parallel Distributed Management System (PDMS) and we eventually decided to become a technology company to focus on the PDMS and market it as an inexpensive alternative to combat the problems that currently plague massive multiplayer online games. We obtained investor funding and the company officially opened its doors in June of 2002. We’re really looking forward to releasing this game, as it will be the first to implement our PDMS technology.
HomeLAN – What kind of playable characters will be available in the game?
Daron Shrode – At release, we intend to have five individual models for each team. The characters are direct representations of what the story dictates their needs to be.
HomeLAN – What sort of locations and settings will the game have?
Daron Shrode – The settings are based off the real world; every effort to enhance the gameplay and develop the story is being made. In other words, the cities and places will stem from how the story plays out. Initially we start with San Francisco, Miami, Tokyo and Kiev.
HomeLAN – How would you characterised the combat gameplay in Urban Dominion?
Daron Shrode – Well, it is an FPS so a lot of “run and gun” is at the core. There are going to be various options of gameplay to keep players interested. These include story development, Capture The Flag, Free For All, and mission-based play. The intention is to provide a mechanism for the player community to create its own story and produce it online.
HomeLAN – Why did you decide to use the Quake II engine as the basis for the game?
Daron Shrode – The Q2 engine is a GPL licensed engine, and thus the engine for Urban Dominion will be released under the GPL as well. Quake2 gives us more abilities than other engines. Its open sourced community is also quite large and sophisticated, therefore tapping into it is easier, and using the Q2 engine in Urban Dominion gives them some technical background from which to develop their modifications easily.
HomeLAN – What modifications are you making to the Quake II engine for its use in Urban Dominion?
Daron Shrode – The addition of our PDMS technology is the most significant modification. This technology is what gives Urban Dominion the capability to support a massive number of players. We’ve added Quake III map and model support, volumetric lighting, and volumetric fog.
However, shortly before entering its Beta phase, security hole was found, forcing the team to push back the date:
After a prolonged test in the secure transactions between the DLL that controls the API of the PDMS and the game Urban Dominion a security hole has been found. This bug could conceivably open the system to code not designed by Global Gaming Innovations and allow that code to be introduced into the processor and run with privileges in all iterations of the game. This means that if the system is distributed, the security could conceivably compromise every system where the software is installed. We find this hole to be most disturbing and because we will not introduce a product with a known security error, we are opting to delay the beta test until we feel the product is as secure as we know it can be.
Due to the fact that correcting this error entails rewriting large portions of the system, we are forced to delay the test. So with heavy hearts we must ask for patience and only offer our assurances that the product that will be shipped, and the beta will be to the best of our abilities, secure, stable, and mature. As we are working on this, we shall introduce further advancements into the game itself. This gives us the time to implement more for the game portion.
The title totally disappeared after this announcement, only to come back nearly an entire year later, with its beta test almost ready:
Announcing beta testing of Global Gaming Innovations’ Urban Dominion. Selected beta testers will receive an email notification with instructions soon. If you were not selected for the first phase, please be patient you may get selected for a future phase of our testing. If you have not yet signed up for the beta test, http://www.global-gaming.com/dominion/beta.php to apply.
Sadly, it was never materialized and Urban Dominion, alongside Global Gaming Innovations, vanished soon after. According to his LinkedIn profile, Daron Shrode left the company in December 2003 and has worked since for various company outside from the video game industry as an analyst and software developer.