Tuesday, May 27, 2008

UserRatings ParallelUniverse TimeTravel

So you know you are gonna need a User Rating System for User Generated Content, some kinda client-side polling thingie that begs players to Rate Content, in some way, and some fields in the database that are tied to that.

You could do a simple thumbs up and thumbs down poll, you could have people give stuff a number of stars, you could even have Ratings Groups or Ratings Guilds or something that you could "trust" for their opinions over everybody else's ratings.

And then you would need filters built into the client that allowed players to use the Rating System to ignore content in the database that was below so many stars, or below so many thumbs up, or whatever, or not.

But that's not all.

Because of Dundee's thing, with the difference between Random Internet and Fark, you could also have a field in the database for assigning content a Theme, like Random Internet, Fark, Classic D&D, Cowboys Versus Zombies, Ancient Rome, things created by certain Theme Guilds (which is what Fark would be, actually), or whatever.

And client side, a filter would allow folks to turn Themes on and off, so they could play the game only with the themes they wanted to play it with, or switch Themes when they were bored.

That's the Parallel Universe Filter.

And that would also work alongside the Ratings filter, so you could choose to play a Classic Game of D&D (or whatever) and only see content (monsters and items and dungeons and all that, and only the players with your same Theme Settings) that was rated over a certain amount of stars (or whatever).

And then there's the Time Period Filter, a field in the database that assigns content (loot and "monsters" and all that) to the Ages in which it belongs, and that allows you to not only do shit like Time Travel, but it also allows you to play the game in an Historical Ancient Roman setting or a Mythological Ancient Roman setting, using the same Time Period with different Parallel Universe settings, ya dig?

I think of that as a drop down box with stuff like Ancient Rome, Medieval, 1800s, Modern, and Future Apocalypse in it, y'know, whatever, its gotta be something simple and not anything complex and crazy for history nerds-only heh.

If the game needs Fallout-style animated icons for everything, then its gotta be sorta discrete like that, too, 'cause each Age would need its own generic junk so that it would look right and be fun to play for the dude that was playing it as an historical thingie (y'know, he ain't gonna wanna have a Nailgun Monkey for a character class and an icon heh).

So that's the Time Travel Filter.

Although you could turn everything on and all the way up, and have it be the Nailgun Monkey shit where everything goes or whatever, being able to tone everything down allows folks to use the thing as a game system to play all sorts of different games on the same map with the same access to the same pools of content without bugging each other.

So that none of the animal gets wasted.

That's a very different thing than Metaplace, its almost the exact opposite of Metaplace, actually, where everything seems like its going to be sorted into separate boxes (not that I'm an expert on Metaplace or anything heh).

Everything in this Nailgun Monkey thing is assigned to layers or overlays that sit on top of each other with filters and that'd work sorta like instancing, with all of that user generated content stuff attached to the same skeletal combat and loot-value infrastructure, based on some kinda generic D&D-like thingie, where a Time Traveler could look at an auction house (or whatever) in Ancient Rome, and fight Ancient Roman stuff (and choose to fight mythological junk, or Ancient Roman Fark stuff, or Historically Accurate stuff, with a certain amount of User Rating Votes) but he wouldn't be bothering players that weren't playing the game the same way he was.

I wanted to get all this out of my head in a semi-orderly fashion only 'cause there's actually a few things that are super interesting to think about beyond all this stuff.

Like how to mechanically do the deal with money in the game, when you got all these different Ages and Cultures and stuff (I think its easier to think about it if you have the game server assign value and stats to all the items in the database, like, Shirts +1 are worth so much to an NPC merchant, Shirts +2 are worth this much more, etc) insteada getting into how to do something like an Auction House in a game where people would only see the things for sale that made sense to their theme.

I like the idea of a game that could teach me about all the different kinds of money that there ever was (everybody loves treasure heh) but goddam your Cowboy is gonna be pissed when he forgets to trade in those Confederate Notes and Roman Coins and stuff before traveling to the future.

And certain things remind me of "Hardcore Mode" settings, like wanting to play in an Historical Parallel Universe based around Ancient Rome or a Classic D&D thingie would sorta force you to make a new character specifically for that, something that fit into that Parallel Universe, who may or may not be able to Time Travel and move between Parallel Universes and stuff.

Which makes me think about the setups that you'd need that controlled when and how folks were allowed to change their filters, I mean, on one end, for the folks who don't give a shit, you could just say "knock yourself out," but then, even in that subset of folks, there's folks that would want to only be able to Time Travel and Parallel Universe Hop with a Time Machine or something, and at the extreme other end, you got the Hardcore Historical Reinactment Folks and stuff that don't wanna be bothered by Time Travelers or anybody else.

Gawd do I ever hate having to think of snappy endings for shit like this where I exhausted myself getting as far as I did heh.

Anyways the reason I'm driving at this is because this game system is really the first time I've ever believed that Parallel Universe and Time Travel junk could be done in a game in a way that not only totally didn't suck, but actually ruled in all sorts of different ways, y'know?

You gotta have the User Generated Content to support that, you need the help of the entire Earth to make the content for a Time Travel and Parallel Universe game heh.

And the system requirements gotta be as low as you can go to get the most help on that end as you can, you want every gang of dudes that play D&D in every hippy-ass neighborhood on the planet (and everybody else) to be able to add their own adventures and stuff to this thing.

Its the More the Merrier, y'know?

Plus I can always just turn the junk I don't want off and make it disappear from the evening's entertainment.

And if the thing stays sorta Symbolic, graphically, like old school miniature RPG stuff or Monopoly Pieces, with a map of the Earth for the World Map and 2d pictures for items and monsters and all that, then you don't gotta have fifty thousand models for everything and your computer won't explode when you go to the Time Traveler Auction House at the End of the Universe 'cause of all the different Eyebrows everybody picked to customize their avatar with heh.

Although there's nothing wrong with them uploading a link to a picture of their avatar for that customization type stuff, something that other folks could inspect, something that wouldn't make everything bog down and explode.

And that would allow folks to go all the way to Maximum Uniqueness, actually.

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