Saturday, May 10, 2008

Give It Away Now

Any time a game dev guy is willing to tell you about his "dream game" is a good time.

But this isn't gonna be a "gawd I love those old Harryhausen Sinbad movies and I wanna make Sinbad Online" kinda thingie awwww I was kinda hoping ahaha.

This latest thing is like the "hey, guess what I'm thinking" game, I dunno how the hell he expects me to take it seriously, especially after the way he's been such a tease with all his other things that he "sorta" started and then ended with a "stay tuned for more" lately heh.

But I'm just plain impatient so I'm gonna try to shove this along anyways, and maybe if I pretend to know what he's thinking, he'll get all pissed off and actually say what he's thinking.

Plus this counts as content for me.

Okay, so let's start out at the beginning.

People didn't mind dieing in D&D as long as it was a really really REALLY cool death where they saved the world or something, classic tragic hero type stuff, painful but awesome at the same time.

Usually it was a lot better (and far more comedic) to illustrate some new monster's digestive system or an ingenius and deadly trap on the no-name red-shirts that came along with the party, though.

And if I needed to increase the suspense, without killing player characters, I'd just threaten non-player characters that they cared about.

Of course, you had to be able to create non-player characters that the players actually cared about in order to do that.

And then they had to think that you would actually kill them.

So that's not as easy as it prolly sounded at first heh.

There's a whole slew of tricks to that, but I don't see the point in explaining it all.

And there's other stuff you could do besides killing or threatening to kill folks, like Kafka-style fear of transformation junk and permanent injuries and stuff, but that's a little outside the scope of this, I think.

Anyways, I didn't need to do anything great like "saving the world" in Syndicate or Syndicate Wars to not be pissed off when my characters died, and those games were permadeath, but not character-centric, 'cause all your "advancement" was stored in your headquarters where you kept all the scientists you kidnapped and did all your research and decked out new agents when you got your old agents blown up and stuff.

Which is kinda what Dundee's old Estate idea always makes me think of, although I mix it with UO style crafting and colonization type stuff (and the crafting in his UO emu was way the hell smoother and streamlined and more single-player-game-quality-fun that the shit in Official UO).

Talking about EVERYTHING needing to die or change, like cities full of graveyards full of dead player characters turning into ruins and the tombs of dead characters that people from later days can explore and fight the ghosts of dead player characters in, that's a little more than the Syndicate Estate dealie.

That's cool, to get past the Etch-A-Sketch MMO world where everything the players do is just erased so the next guy can have at it.

You just need a pretty awesome system for storing all the energy the players dump into the hamster wheels somehow, so that none of the animal is wasted.

What you are making me think of is a game where you start out as a caveman or a lord of the flies guy or something like that, that moves forward through time until you build cities that rise and fall, y'know, Civilization-style, where the players create the world's history.

And then you could have a time machine that could go back in time to the Olden Days of when the server was young and everybody was first starting out and visit those early cities and characters and stuff.

Or any other place on the timeline.

Which would be pretty awesome.

And epic, thanks to 20/20 hindsight.

Doesn't really matter if its cavemen or whatever, could start out as a space thingie, or cowboys, or something, its just easier to paint it as cavemen, 'cause everybody knows what that is and where it would be going next, y'know.

And the time travel thingie isn't so much a game mechanic idea as a way to portray how well you better store everybody's investment in the game, people are sick to death of feeling like they wasted their time with these things heh.

But I know Dundee's got all them historical weapon ideas and stuff like that, which does that same kinda stuff, in a different way from a time machine.

And he's actually already done the dynamic content rts-warcraft style AI bad guys that start out in dungeons and grow stronger and threaten towns and stuff before, in his UO emu, and he talked about doing dynamically spawning dungeons, too, so I know he could do the organic and non-linear dynamic content junk that all the players are at war with.

I'm just wondering what this Epic deal is all about.

Some Homer-ish dude like that Elminster guy from Forgotten Realms who recorded everything or something, mebbe?

That's what it makes me think of.

Or maybe some kinda plot thingie that the advancement of the world hinges on at certain points or something.

Or maybe he's just saying that any time a character dies, even if all player advancement is stored somewhere else, like Syndicate Wars, it has a chance of being epic or something, and when you view it from later on, like with a time machine that actually let you go back and visit the past of a server, you'd be able to pick out the things that were epic.

Anyways these kinda game ideas seem like they'd take advantage of the separate server shard-thingie big time, 'cause each one could end up very different and interesting in their own way, depending on what the players did.

Especially if it had Dundee's Anamorphic Terrain thingie innit, where the landmasses and oceans and stuff might even be totally different.

He's usually not too good at thinking about something different than what he's working on, though, he's been kinda single-minded and obsessed like Ahab (that's putting it nicely ahaha), historically, compared to me, and his way of thinking seems like it comes from almost the exact opposite direction of the way I like to do things, so I don't really know what he's thinking heh.

I don't think I could really pick one setting as my "dream MMO" thingie, I usually use a Traveller slash Freelancer based space thing, for scifi stuff, or a Doctor Who Online type thing as a frame of reference for really generic mechanical stuff where I need to keep the setting from influencing me (which would be totally impossible to do well, which is exactly why I use it), or an "almost" historical 13th warrior type thingie, with way more fear of magic than actual magic, y'know, like the medieval stories I write, with a survival based colonization type thingie attached to all of 'em (chefs are important to the survival of kingdoms in a lot of my stories, and almost all of my science fiction junk is guys with jobs, so its not like the crafter stuff is totally alien to my plots or anything).

And even with all that, I could easily see a James Bond Online or a Wild West Online (even though I wouldn't have a clue how to make that one fun, myself, unless it was Cowboys Versus Lovecraft or something, which is cheating heh) or a Steampunk Online (with Blimp Fights and Handcannons and Mechanical Armor, awhellyah) and twenty other things being totally fun, if it was done really well.

But then again, I'm not some Ludwig Van game dev guy.


W.Churchill said...

I really liked Dundees ideas on heroic weapons and stuff. Things players have used in the past retaining some kind or power that get more powerful over the ages. One characters sword is lost when he dies and found later by another kind if thing. So even if the original owner is long dead. his heroic deeds live on in the item itself

I could see letting characters age over time maybe turn into one of those wish old hermit dudes that live alone until after living a heroic life but he hinds him identity cause all he wants to do with the rest of his life in live in peace and quiet. But he has some knowledge he could share with some young aspiring hero who's on a quest or something. Make the player himself an active part of the story line kind of thing, if he's still alive.

If not then the idea of incorporating the deceased hero into the game, like your idea of a grave yard or hey, if the dead player reached a high enough status as a hero, some elaborate tomb that players have to search or something. Ahahha, oh man how about heroic players being able to design their own tombs before their death, kinda like the pharaohs and shit. Traps, hidden rooms, etc. That would be really cool man.

Shit, so many ideas

W.Churchill said...

also, note to self, dont post hungover cause you type like a caveman

Ole Bald Angus the Monk said...

You want to do it again I'll delete the old ones and fix stuff up.

Its not even half as bad as half the shit that I do though ahaha.

Yah there's a whole ton of awesome sublevels to all this stuff, I wish somebody else besides me would do this shit 'cause there's so much of it.

Like your pharoah design-your-own-tomb thingie, where your ancestors might come to claim your historical weapon, and you might even be able to play the ghost of one of your deceased characters like monster play in LotRO, to defend your tomb from the unworthy or some shit.

And even discovering the tomb might be tied into Wizard Divination and Research, as Wizards search for powerful items to help their people and create quests for players.

By summoning demons to question them for secret knowledge.

Which comes at the expense of making the demon more powerful.

And eventually the demon will be strong enough to lead an army of demons against the village that used him to arm themselves with powerful weapons and artifacts heh.

Gawd I love all that inter-twisty shit ahaha.

And Dundee shouldn't be afraid to talk about his crap 'cause the guy who originally comes up with the stuff has the power to keep moving forward into better and better junk where the dudes that just copy everything have to sit there and wait for the next thing to copy, y'know?

Plus there's that tendency for the first guy to do something new to not do as well as the guy that comes along next and perfects what he did.

Where arguing it out sorta serves as a simulation to iron ideas out better and polish up those turds ahaha.