Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Transdimensional Conundrums

In a Parallel Universe, Dundee didn't take the job with SWG.

And he didn't become a "space guy" at all.

And instead, he kept working on his piddly little experimental UO emulator server, and fooling around with Permanent Death, and his Estate Idea, and Weapons With History, where a weapon, over the course of generations, would keep track of all the things it killed and the folks who used it, and became a magical Orc-Slayer Sword, once it killed enough Orcs, that may be passed down from father to son, or recovered from the famous tomb of a dead player, but it would only "light up" and show its magical nature if it was held by someone from the family, or something like that.

And all that just came from from meditating and musing about ways to make lewt and treasure more interesting, and how to store a player's "advancement" in something else besides a "level treadmill," y'know?

And then there was his Organic Dungeon Spawning thingie, where Dungeons would spawn dynamically and begin to build in strength, and eventually threaten nearby player-made towns, with "scouts," at first, and then sieges, eventually, unless something was done to stop them.

Which was an idea that was almost borrowed by the guys that did Horizons, but then they gave up 'cause it was too hard to do, or whatever, and they made yet another static etch-a-sketch game world where everything respawns and endlessly erases everything the players do, even though, if you think about it, that isn't acutally any different than make everything out of dynamic puzzle pieces that can go together in different ways, from a technical perspective, except in how you keep track of the meaning of it.

Well, as long as you think about it ahead of time.

Just like Dundee's Anamorphic Terrain thingie and the random dungeon stuff (that we had twenty years ago in Daggerfall heh) isn't really really any different than arranging the entrances and exits to a series of "instances" made out of dumb little bricks with some spawn points that you may or may not use.

And then there was the Divination thing, where Wizards would get Divinations about relics and artifacts like Orc Slayer Swords in the Tombs of Dead Player Heroes, that would start quests, at the cost of owing a Demon something, and eventually Demons would become strong enough, through this mafia-like procession of owing favors, to open a gate and attack the town.

Which would make the Wizard pretty unpopular with the locals heh.

Awesome junk like that.

I think its kinda weird that Dundee became a space guy, 'cause I always thought of him as more of a "let's all ride around and seige castles" 13th warrior No-Elves-And-Barely-Any-Magic kinda dude, but with the "success" of Jump to Lightspeed and the friends he made and stuff, everything that happened makes sense.

Although his current interest in social-networks or whatever is completely bizarre to me, I don't get that at all, even when I think about the experiments he did with Player Policing and stuff, 'cause those were all in-game sorta things, and not out-of-game sorta things, well, at least in my mind, and I'm not a big fan of all that out-of-game baggage, I tend to think of all that kinda stuff as crutches players constructed to get around gaping holes in the game's logic and signs that something in-the-game is broken or at least needs some smoothing-over.

But I'm weird, y'know, there are very few people who share the context that I look at everything from, and the list is always growing smaller, 'cause the crusty old jaded gamer guys don't really tend to share all the experiences they're drawing on, y'know, 'cause it'd be so much work to spell it all out and you'd prolly forget about ten million important points anyways so why bother heh.

But we do need to bother, or we're gonna lose all that info, and pretty soon there won't be anybody that knows what usage-based skill stuff is, all the different benefits and things that suck about it, and the improvements Dundee played around with, automating things, and the offline "training" bit that was sorta half-adopted by Eve Online.

And eventually all that junk will have to be rediscovered the hard way, when it might've been really useful, as an option, earlier on.

Its still the only way I can see newbs and high level guys grouping together more-the-merrier style where everybody gains something, y'know, 'cause everybody gets experience just for swinging at the monster, and not just killing the monster.

And the Weapons With History thing is an example of using the power of computers to go somewhere farther than we ever could've gone with Pen and Paper, and not just "doing as good" as Pen and Paper, y'know?

Same with filling a graveyard with the grandfathers of the current players, and having your players really be the guys that make the History of your game, that junk is awesome with a kind of depth that we could barely scrape our nails into with Pen and Paper stuff, 'cause it'd be such a pain-in-the-ass to keep track of all that shit.

Yah, we all hated keeping track of how much water and iron rations you needed to drink and eat and shit, let alone how many orcs you killed, but pretty much every computer game keeps track of how much orcs you kill, even though they hardly do anything that makes sense with it (like giving you a +3 bonus against Orcs as an Orc Slayer or something heh).

Anyways I think about that Parallel Universe sometimes, the one where Dundee is still Dundee, and still grinding away at his piddly little Experimental Server, and what a lucky bastard that Parallel Universe Version of Me is, having all that fun, doing junk at least ten years into the future of the shit I'm doing over here in this crappy Parallel Universe where everything got all fucked up ahaha.

I mean, seriously, all that junk I been talking about was from like ten years ago in this timeline, and that was just the beginnings of where ever we woulda gone by now.

And I think about what we traded all that for, and I'm like, totally fucking bummed man, we got totally fucking screwed in that deal man I mean we got seriously donky cocked ahaha.

And its the same thing with Sunsword, who keeps saying he needs help, and between all of us, we know so many awesome people when you think about it.

I mean, really think about it, that's always was our real super power.

But I dunno how to help him and bring it all back together, even though I love the guy.

And now I'm at the point where I'm staring back down the timeline and trying to make a course correction to swing us toward the good spot a little, if I can.

Like some kinda multidimensional madman ahaha.

But how hard would it be, really?

How hard is it to fix everything and get all the ducks in a row and just make everything right?

Not that hard.

We ain't trading anything really wonderful for it, I been giving this current state of affairs a chance for years and years now but shit seems all fuxxored up to me and I haven't seen anything really good and worthy of all the powers behind it come out of it yet.

We just gotta make up our minds and do it.

And so what if you starve (heh), as long as you advance your art and are remembered forever as a champion of some great 'cause who died a righteous death in battle, or even not remembered at all except as some dude that saved the whole town of whatsitsnuts from whatever that bad thing was that one time, back in the days before all the new people showed up ahaha.

Life is just a sitcom throughout the Multiverse, in each and every one of the different Parallel Universes, but in some of 'em, they're doing really awesome shit, that's way more fun than the shit we're doing, and I'm jealous.

How about we make those other Parallel Universes jealous of us for once, man.

Or, maybe I'm just not patient enough, if you need an easy out ahaha.


W.Churchill said...

Again, you've managed to hit the proverbial nail on the head. That parallel universe where Dundee kept pushing his ideas ( I was going to say “where people like him”, but lets be honest. There aren't any). Man yeah. I mean when is someone going to say screw this and break away from the herd and make something different then this crap we've been force fed for the past decade.

The MMORPG development community is freakin stagnate. Its like, ohhh there's World of Warcraft, they have a bazzillion subs, so lets all try to jump on the band wagon and keep rolling out shit that will make us some quick money and maybe last four years before the subs go tits up and jump ship to the next pile of crap that comes floating along.

Tell you what, way back when I first heard about his weapons history idea I knew right then this guy was onto something really good. Back before he turned into a hermit, we'd listen to his ideas for hours and ask questions, picking his big brain kind of questions.

Pretty much everything you pointed out man, awesome stuff there. But who's doing anything? No one. Maybe Dundee is waiting for the right moment, then he's going to open up that huge box of ideas and pour it out on the floor and start cranking this stuff out. I sure hope so cause I don't see anything on the horizon thats going to mark a turning point for MMO's.

See this sucks, we've talked about stuff here before, got some really cool ideas. But I'm poor, don't have much in the way of technical MMO building skills and all that fancy computer programming knowledge. Going to school to try to break into the gaming industry so maybe that'll at least get my foot in the door. But thats about it. All these ideas I read and have floating around in my head and I got no way of getting them turned into reality.

If I suddenly had millions of dollars I'd have no hesitation giving a large chunk of it to Dundee so he can go off and start working on his ideas. But then again, he'd most likely just take all the money and run off to some remote island fortress location on the planet and start writing a manifesto or something

Ole Bald Angus the Monk said...

See, I think I could always just go bug somebody and get us a gig and money from somewheres.

I've actually turned down MORE than one of those exact kinda "here's a million dollars... do it" thingies that Dundee thinks he wants over the years.

Y'know, I don't wanna have to put my Serious Business Hat on, but I did it for good reasons, really, those things aren't all they're cracked up to be, they sound crazy because that's exactly what they are ahaha.

But I don't think that Million Dollar shit is really what you need to make it happen anyways.

The guys who did Syndicate JUST DID IT, y'know?

There wasn't no million dollars or no door to get their foot in or anything like that.

Maybe it was all at the cost of their right arms and health and stuff, but shit man, whatever, they made SYNDICATE, y'know?

Well, maybe Syndicate is a bad example, but there's other good examples out there.

That is where I think that Sunsword's Secret Fire really shines, the guy is a genius at that kinda anaylsis and negotiation and people handling and logistical Captain Pacard stuff, and that's where Dundee's genius sorta comes to a bad end, not because he can't do it, exactly, but because it seems like he can only do it with his fellow super geniuses.

Not that I'm an expert or anything on the subject, but I got my opinions and suspicians and shit anyways from the junk I've seen and way it seemed to go down, y'know, Sun is one of those guys that cam fight for two weeks straight and never make a mistake with all sorts of people, I've seen him do it, and that's a rare sorta power that could be enhanced to a Permanent Tick-Like Nigh Invulnerability if he had somebody watching his back and playing the straw man and doing a distraction every once in a while whenever it was needed.

Anyways I know I don't need no million dollars to do anything, all I need is some hot mommasan's basement or a nice poolhouse to sleep in and some coffee and cigarettes and something I believe in and I'm all good.

And the people to do it with, y'know, 'cause although I think that any of us could do it by ourselves, it wouldn't be any good.

And that's really the trick there, where everybody else's thing fails, I don't think the good stuff comes from trying to do things on your own.

And it'd need to be a thick-skinned group that could handle a lot of acid being splashed around, 'cause I'd always be saying stuff like "omfg that looks like a blue-haired anime thing, get RID of that!" all the time, and folks would need to know that they could just tell me to fuck off, insteada taking it to heart ahaha.

Which is the way all the people I like are, we've all trained each other over the years to be like that, 'cause you need good data, you cant have folks worrying about your feelings and shit.

But I'm one of those stereotypical wingding off-the-grid borderline self-destructive maniac artist types, so I dunno if I'd trust me if I wasn't me and I hadn't seen all the business analyst crap I really did for a living heh.

Anyways school ain't about learning stuff, its about making connections.

You gotta learn how to do what you seem like you wanna do on your own in your own time, I think, and just BUILD something.

Or else you'll never feel like you know what you are doing.

I think Dundee shoulda told you THAT, 'cause that's REALLY the way he (and everybody else like him) did it.

I also think that you are one of the ones that could really do it, 'cause you seem crazy enough in the right places, where a lot of the guys I been talking about don't seem crazy enough to do much of anything anymore heh.

Plus they got kids and house payments and all that baggage weighing 'em down and holding their arms back and preventing them from living like drifters in other people's houses and going where ever the river takes 'em and shit all Zen-style ahaha.

But whatever, the truth is that we don't need to do anything, really, we can all just have our little bit of fun and fade away, that's okay too.

Won't make any of the other Parallel Universe Versions of Ourselves jealous of us, but that's fine, somebody has to be the whipping post that makes all the other versions of ourselves feel better about themselves ahaha.