Here's sorta what I'm working on right now.
I say "sorta" 'cause I keep changing my mind about certain key elements as I figure out ways to reorganize stuff to create more interesting scenarios and situations later on.
Anyways the basic idea is that there's all these eleven dimensional spaceships from way the hell in the future, beyond the extinction of the human race, and the ape race that replaced 'em, and the robots that replaced the apes, and the holograms that replaced the robots, and the memetic collective that replaced the holograms, and whatever else there was, intelligent plants and ghost empires and ape-vs-robot-vs-cowboy-vs-zombie apocalypses and stuff heh.
And the spaceships can travel through time and space and parallel universes, 'cause they're these huge-ass machines that only partly exists in normal time and space, if they bother to exist in normal time-space at all.
And they were created to terraform alien planets and parallel universe versions of the Earth and recreate all sorts of different civilizations, like a Human (and whatever) Backup Array, Jurassic Park Style.
So its full of automated factories and cloning facilities and all sorts of cool stuff on the inside, and it mostly looks like a terraforming tower or an elevator or a vault door in the ground on the outside, when it ain't flying around like the city from stargate atlantis (although it can disguise itself as a Lodge or a Log Cabin or a Stone Tower or a Castle or an Office Building with a nice lawn or just stealth itself with holographic technology at the snap of its fingers to fit any time period it may be interested in recreating).
And the characters you create are clones (although not necessarily human clones) created and let loose on the planet (12 monkey style) by the AI that runs this great big machine, 'cause (of course) its all broken down and shit and it needs your help to repair itself and recover its full capabilities.
And it doesn't trust you, 'cause its made some other clones that ended up turning bad on it (there's my built-in arch-nemesis shit ahaha), so you gotta do missions and stuff to earn its trust and be allowed access to certain areas aboard the ship, and each new area comes with new crap to fix before you can access the full capabilities of that area.
So everything in the game, including being able to create new characters and build your own vehicles and use the cyborg and genetic augmentation areas of the medical lab and firing up the terraforming tower to turn the ruins of a city into a jungle so you can do the sim city thingie and being able to fire up the engines and fly the entire ship around, has a way of being unlocked and repaired and upgraded junk.
Actually, at the moment, I'm sorta toying with the idea of making the Player, as a User, be the artificial intelligence aboard the ship, so you can name your ship when you first start playing the game and use that as your handle for adding content to the game and crap, and then your characters would be the clones of your AI, who acts sorta like a little god or something, and all your characters are your AI's "hands and eyes on the ground."
"Waking up as a clone" or whatever with no memory to initiate some suspension of disbelief has been done to death already, waking up as an AI that just finally managed to get some crucial part of itself operational after a terrible multidimensional crash landing or collision or something that happened six hundred thousand years ago and creating your clones yourself instead using some kinda lame-ass character creation screen is a little more kickass as far as story-telling goes.
And its not like the AI is gonna know what the hell its doing until it gets more fixed up anyways, all the damn AIs that always run the eleven dimensional spaceships in all these damn eleven dimensional spaceship story thingies never know anything useful until the very end of the story anyways ahaha.
The only thing that sucks about it is that it messes up my "earn the AIs trust" access-to-new-areas setup for the clones.
'Cause like, you can probably trust your own characters, y'know?
I suppose there's some angle to work that with "earn access" thing as an AI, instead of having it be by character, where the characters, autonomous as they may or may not be, depending on the player (who doesn't really have to mess with this spaceship crap at all, I plan on making it so that a new character could just leave and go play the game with his buddies and fight monsters and gamble and trade and do whatever he wants to do out of other cities instead of building his own, y'know, all I gotta do is make the "tutorial" starter-thingie something where you repair the transport system that lets you do exactly that and we are good-to-go).
Anyways that's what I'm working on right now, more specifically the map of the tower and at least some of the areas that you can unlock, like the cloning area (which will get mushed into character creation), some tutorial thingie, and the stuff that requires you to scan and explore the grid of the apocalyptic ruins of a city on the surface before repairing and firing up the terraforming system.
I already started making it as an isometric cartoon thingie that you can dungeon crawl around in and work all the little machines, which is what I wanna do for the "scan and clear toxic materials and lifeforms and salvage parts and crap before terraforming can begin" too.
And I guess its good to do the "User is the AI" thingie, 'cause then you don't gotta do the tower shit all over again with different characters, y'know, 'cause while some stuff, like the terraforming-and-exploring-the-ruins and building new cities junk, is kinda fun 'cause its easy to randomize and make interesting, all that "earning trust and credentials" tutorial rat maze crap over and over again ain't no fun.
Hmm, I s'pose I better plan to make some of that a toggle though, in case that starter crap is kinda fun.
None of this junk, no matter how I end up doing it, precludes using your first tower to create new towers so you can create more than one city (even in different parallel universes) or anything, it just turns it all into a part of the game, being able to create new towers is just another thing to unlock.
And the tower as the central feature thingie gives me a way to let folks admin their own worlds (to make 'em fun for their buddies) in a gamey and unsucky way.
Plus its cool for folks who just like to build junk and show it off to other players.
And I can instance everything so you can check out everybody else's crap without bothering 'em, or by invitation, and these spaceship-tower-slash-city-running AIs can team up together in at least a couple different interesting ways and even wrestle each other in a couple different and interesting ways (terraforming fights! ahaha), so that's cool.
And the whole thing with having you, as a user, be the AI of the ship figuring out everything on your own actually makes it kinda nice and interesting for me as a narrator, 'cause then I can just sorta deliver information to you directly as you investigate crap insteada doing that moldy-old "talk to the player through some goddam pestering puppet" thingie heh.
I know I do that a lot here on my blog but I don't like being stuck feeling like I gotta do that shit all the time y'know that junk is only good for a couple laughs and then it starts getting old really quick ahaha.