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Perma-Death and Continuity


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#81 Oluseyi   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1670

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 05:44 PM

Saluk, there are a significant number of similarities between your design and ours. There are also some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) differences. I don''t believe in hoarding ideas, but I can''t divulge details without consulting with Silvermyst, so...

quote:
Original post by Saluk
Your game is sounding like it has the same problem though - if you don''t collect items, what DO you do?

The game is being set up to encourage exploration. We haven'' quite decided on a rewards system, but we want the users to visit far places, to consider circling the planet (this isn''t based on earth, so we''re able to think up some creative things - all bound by contemporary physics), and so forth. We want their to be challenges and many clues that point to interesting things to do. Some of those "quests" will require more than one dinosaur to complete, providing the incentive for social interaction between players, which will be a big part of the game. See Silvermyst''s thread in this forum on Cavemen communication for a very early preview of some of our communication ideas.

Another important factor is that we want this game to be friendly to the casual gamer. We don''t want a world where unless you spend hours a day, you simply can''t compare/compete/enjoy the experience. The game world will hopefully feature archaeological and paleontological (did I spell that right? can''t be bothered to check right now) data that may somehow contribute to some other overarching goal. We may (depending on skill and time) also include other species that slowly evolve and affect the world.

You''re quite right when you say that a lot of gameplay is missing. For us, what we''re interested in doing right now is building a prototype that we can publicly demo (don''t hold your breath; we''re still writing the first draft of the creative design document, to be followed by the technical design document, iterative editing and synchronization of the two with some initial programming, and finally application development - which includes a preproduction stage of sketch artwork, CG renders and storyboards to give us a good idea what exactly we''re trying to accomplish). At that point (probably two years down the road - and that''s a very optimistic guess) we''ll present the demo publicly for beta testing and seek comments on expanding and balancing gameplay. This might even evolve into some sort of community development thing (a la Open Source). We''ll see.

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#82 CGameProgrammer   Members   -  Reputation: 640

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 07:09 PM

Saluk: Running from meat eaters might be fun for a while, but really, EVERYONE would want to be a meat eater.

Not necessarily. Your carnivore/herbivore idea sounds like a very good one, I urge you to implement it! But your mistake is in thinking that herbivores avoid carnivores. Not true. Some run, some hide, but others fight back. For example, many plant-eating dinosaurs had large skeletal plates acting as armor, in addition to things like spiked or clubbed tails that they swung at attackers. Attacking something like that was actually dangerous, and a gamble on the meat-eater''s part.

In a game, merely avoiding the meat-eaters will not be much fun in the long term, but being able to fight them if it comes to that will. You can have it that the plant-eaters have high hitpoints but low damage, as this would be a pretty good interpretation of reality (not all actually did low damage, some could kill in one hit with their tail if it''s well-aimed).

But the difference in the sides can be that the plant-eaters are best off avoiding meat-eaters - running or hiding, only fighting if need be. This works for a class-based approach, because you can have some herbivore dinosaurs that mainly hide, others that mainly run, and others that mainly fight. So the fighters could fight while they others run away, and the hiders can be scouts, and so forth. The very tall dinosaurs like bronchosauri and dipplodoci have lots of hitpoints but are slow and can''t attack, but they can go in deep water unlike any other dinosaur.

The carnivores will just have a variety of stats and attack types - velociraptors which are quick and dexterous (that''s where the "veloci" comes from) and Tyrannosauri which are strong but relatively slow, and Allosauri which are faster and do more or the same damage as Tyrannosauri, but with less hitpoints (I think this is sort of accurate, not sure though).

To give the plant-eaters something to do, look to reality! They must always be consuming plants. To do this, they go where some healthy green plants are (that are in reach - only tall dinosaurs like bronchosauri and dipplodoci can reach tall trees) and stand there. Standing still makes them automatically eat anything within melee range. Plants are consumed and the leaves don''t grow back for a while (one real-life hour?), so plant-eaters need to always be moving to the next patch of fertile land, which puts them in danger. They also can''t go long without eating anything, since each individual plant only slightly lowers their hunger.

The meat-eaters, when they kill a plant-eater, stand over the corpse to automatically eat it. Each corpse can fully replenish the stomache of one carnivore. So the carnivores don''t need to eat as often as the herbivores.

Obviously with a system like this, it will not be very eventful. More suspenseful. The meat-eaters will usually not know where the plant-eaters are and will have to hunt them, and the plant-eaters will usually be doing nothing but eating. So it would be a more relaxed, social game - players can just chat and stuff while their characters eat, or whatever.

But the system I described won''t work as a MMORPG - just a 32-player game or smaller, probably.

~CGameProgrammer( );



#83 Saluk   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 07 September 2002 - 08:01 PM

Yeah, that''s what I was thinking. A 32 to 64 player extended battle experiment. You might log in every so often and do some fighting and eating, and the battle might last longer than a few hours (maybe up to a few days) but it would be a game with and end and a goal. The herbivores goal is to overpower the carnivores, the carnivores goal is to overpower the herbivores. The herbivores aren''t strong enough to overpower the carnivores directly, survival for them is more important than assault. Breeding rates could be a factor, having to eat the right kinds of food before you can breed. And those certain kinds of food may very well be guarded by some carnivores. Also, some kinds of food is very deadly, so it''s important to be careful not to eat it. Herbivores will need to eat much more often than carnivores, possibly having their energy reach zero in mere minutes. Balancing would be fairly difficult, and the combat engine would have to be REALLY good. I don''t have the time or the skill to implement it really, so my ideas are free to use

I have a lot of good ideas that I keep close to me for when the time is ready to unleash upon the world anyway.

Oluseyi: I really like the idea of exploration, that to me is what''s most fun in nearly every game I enjoy. And the quests sound good as well; I just wish I could help you with rewards.
You could have map of explored area, and every time someone goes somewhere new, that area is marked on the map with their name. So it could be a goal of explorers to try and get their name to the most places in the map. Now of course, most of the interesting places wont be all that easy to get to, and various obstacles could make some of the most valuable real estates empty black splotches on the map for ages to come. If food is important in the game, areas with an abundance of food will likely have an abundance of players congregating their. If food has different properties, different effects on characters, that could make finding and trying different foods interesting. There was this game for the gameboy a few years ago called Survival kids. You go around on a desert island and have to survive, eating food and the like along the way. It was interesting trying different things and seeing what kinds of effects it has on you.

I''ll look out for the game in 2 years, hehe.

#84 deClavier   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 03:19 AM

addressing the issue of death and continuity, maybe the solution is to define characters as part of a system thereby eliding the question of individuality and rephrasing the loss of one as an inconvenience for the whole

alternatively, you could define characters as amorphous, being greater or lesser in their capacity to communicate with the gameworld but never totally excluded from such.

#85 CGameProgrammer   Members   -  Reputation: 640

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 05:44 PM

But who doesn''t want to be an individual? In fact, I think something like Warcraft III could have been much better if we had only one hero per person, but could customize them ahead of time just like an RPG hero - appearance, name, class, etc. So instead of merely controlling an army, the players actually had an individual unit they could call their own.

~CGameProgrammer( );



#86 deClavier   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 07:37 PM

quote:
Original post by CGameProgrammer
But who doesn''t want to be an individual?


Someone who wants to work for a system...

All I''m saying is that continuity is easier to maintain using an external, rather than an internal, reference point. Say you die; becoming a new character makes more sense (continuity-wise) if your focus is being part of a clan which uniquely identifies the role you will continue to play, regardless of who you are.

The alternative, as I said, is to be amorphously defined. That way you can die, become a tiny blob and then grow somewhere else.




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