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Landfish

Summoning

32 posts in this topic

Another weirdo Landfish Post! Alright: A system in MMORPG where magic was entirely accomplished by summoning up demonic or angelic entities. These entities would be represented by actual people serverside, who then weigh the requests made of them. If you summon up a malevolent god and ask that he smite out an opponant for you, he might do it, then ask a favor of you to be used later on. Or a benevolent god might not ask for anything in return, but will only heal, never harm. An insane god may simply kill anyone who does not request his presence properly. The gods, of course, would have thier own agendas, in which they would make use of these favors they have been taking from the players. Yes, I realize that one particular god might only be in one place at one time, but that makes magic unreliable, a deterrant to overusing it. However, it is basically all powerful (see the Magic Alternatives post for an article on why this is a good thing). I think that''s everything, but I ''m sure I left something out. So, I put it to you: Problems that will arise? More importantly, solutions?
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I thought gods could be where ever they want, whenever they want, and as many places at the same time as they want. After all, they are gods.
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Well, I suppose you would have to set up a way for them to process multiple requests, then. That would suck for the god=player, though. But hopefully, angering the god is so risky that you would go to great lengths to avoid nagging them.
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"YOU DARE NAG THE ALMIGHTY DOG!?"

(ZAP! Turns him into a harmless bunny)

That''s a cool idea for an online game! But you''d have to have someone on staff for the requests. Even if they come as e-mails, or an online "request box", you''d need someone to look through them all and act on them.

E:cb woof!
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interesting idea, but the idea of the gods being humans serverside wouldn''t work. If I read right you want the gods to be humans choosing which requests to respond to. Think about how many requests they would have to handle in a hour. Personally I''d just freak out and just set the system to authorize all the requests automatically.

A better system would be for every character to have invocation points which are earned the doing deeds. For example praying to the god, making offerings, healing the sick or smiting the wicked depending on what type of god it was. When you pertition your good the liklyhood of getting your way is determined by how many points you have. If you get your way you lose points. If you try to summon your god with little or no points you may incur the wrath of your god and be punished.

In return for there aid the gods offer, the player is every once and a while forced to perform a task. Eg. one month a plague breaks out in some city. A touchy feely god tells her followers to god heal the sick. If the player does this they get a healthy amount of invocation points, if they don''t they lose respect in the eyes of their gods and lose some points.

The problem would be making sure not to many points are given for killing things or otherwise some PKer may amass a huge amount of points and then tell his god to level a city or something.

Just an idea.
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Doesn''t ultimate power corupt ultimately? I can see some online ''gods'' taking real world monetary tribute in order to perform acts of seemingly random carnage on fellow players. Perhaps god favors could be auctioned on eBay instead, just to cut to the chase?
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Real world money for aid it the game wouldn''t that be a little weird. Plus it would be a little unfair. A person who plays by the rules could get toasted by a PKer who slipped a extra $20 to the game company for some extra godly assitance.

I think the summoning points are a better idea. The summoning points are just a way of tracking how religous a character is. The player doesn''t actually know how many points they have, its a hidden stat. You have to have some way of deciding if the god is going to aid the person. Obviously the god is going to be more helpful to a devout follower than someone who is only a token believer. So the points help track this.

The points are referred to when the player casts a spell. Depending of the size of the request(E.G a fireball is a small matter compared to razing twelve kilometres of forest), its determine the likelyhood of a spells success. If the player has 200 points(your average believer) and has asked for a fireball the likely of success is about 30% that the god will give them a fireball. But if the have 1000 points(devout believer) would have and 80% chance of success with getting a fireball.
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Actually I''ve been working on a model of exactly what you''re talking about in the MMORPG I''m designing.

Hmmm you sure make a LOT of posts about this kinda stuff Landfish....any WIPs or plans?

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
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MAybe instead of requesting the god to actually appear the user could request for a predefined action or something. Then the server side employee could dimply grant or deny requests. You could probably set up a bot to handle some stuff too.
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How about like having gods of beer, then you could collect points and trade them in for, well, like 6 packs, and if you are really good, the god will throw you an all night kegger with, well, like the Swedish bikini team, but then if you are, well, like really, really offensive to the god, he gives you like a light beer, or even worse, something like one of those non-alcholic beers or somthing. Sorry, I need to watch ''Strange Brew'' to get that out of my system. Sorry, sorry...
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I kinda like the points idea, Abort Fail Retry, and it being a hidden stat. That could work on a single player game maybe too. Of course, the gods couldn''t be real ppl in a single-player game, but perhaps AI controlled gods can perform favors ...interesting idea
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i must say i like the original idea landfish. have dedicated players as gods who must be worshipped and can be prayed to for favors. very cool idea.

another idea might be to allow commited players to "ascend" to the levels of gods or demi gods. for example, if there is a player that plays nearly 24/7 and has a really good character and what not, the game could empower them with these god like abilities.

i have thought about something similiar to this while playing the excellent counter strike mod for half life. recently i have been playing exclusively on the darkclown dust servers. when they still had ff (friendly fire) on, many players would tk (team kill). the victims of these tks would cry out in vain for justice. since the admin was rarely there, none of the tkers got kicked as they should have. i thought it would be cool to give players who play the server lots (and i mean a LOT) kind of a "power of admin" status. when the admin is not present these people act in their place, with the ability to alter the server variables and boot players.

how this relates to the post, you ask? well the same thing could be applied to mmorpgs. sort of. if a player frequents the game he could be given, as i mentioned above, these god like abilities (or less fantastically, admin abilities), which would be a tangible reward for their commitment. further more it would encourage people to play more. also, if you limit the amount of "gods", then these spots could become highly contested. a player who achieved godlike status must strive to not just maintain but improve their standing in the game world to retain the honor. if they slack off too much, they could become fallen, a badge to wear with shame and disgrace.

excellent idea landfish. there is so much you can do with it.

<(o)>
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by the way whirlwind, the poet dante thought that the only kind of uncorruptable leader would be one who had absolute power. how could you corrupt someone who has everything? what could you possible offer them that they do not have or could easily obtain? just a thought...

<(o)>
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Ok, I didn''t get to read it all in detail, but I promise I''ll go back and read when I get home today.

1. I have no problem with absolute power or corrupt gods. When have there been more opportunities for adventure than when an evil god runs amok? (see tolkien) Anyway, there would be intrigue between the gods, so the benevolent god may just "empower" the best of the world''s warriors to take him out, or at least teach him a lesson. Wouldn''t you want to play that?

2. I should note the two things I forgot: a. Gopds cannot affect eachother except through humans. That''s where the favors come in. 2. Gods can give players "graces" or assumed powers, so that they need not request it of a god each and every time. Beware the god who finds you have misused his powers, though.

3. I Really wouldn''t like this to turn into another "point" system, because I want to stop quantifying magic, and start making it a little irration. If you really must use points, make them hidden, and use some fuzzy numbers that go either way at the level mark. That way the system can''t be dicked.

I liked the potential for abuse of power by gods, because it reflects a polytheistic culture where some gods are nice but most of them are jackasses.

Also, most instances you would not actually "see" the god, although the sky might darken or something. Storms and other melodrama. What kind of $hit do you need to pull to make them manifest physically? Heh.

4. As for my own plans, I DO plan to change the gaming world majorly, but not before I master the way things are now. It''s ok to pipe dream though. You can see the primitive demo page of my team''s site at http://www.landfish.com/, but be warned the art. layout, and writing will all be changed for the actual page. So in essence it''s a waste of your time.

Glad to see people liked the idea... now I have GOT to implement it somehow. If you beat me to it, at least put me in the thanks.

Any more pros and cons?
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Only me, posting to annoy you as always

Just kidding.

quote:
Original post by Landfish

1. I have no problem with absolute power or corrupt gods. When have there been more opportunities for adventure than when an evil god runs amok? (see tolkien) Anyway, there would be intrigue between the gods, so the benevolent god may just "empower" the best of the world''s warriors to take him out, or at least teach him a lesson. Wouldn''t you want to play that?


Some would, some wouldn''t. In UO they hoped that ''lawlessness'' would be controlled by player-run policing groups, and so on. But when it comes down to it, a paying customer nearly always wants a fair game. If his friend summons a demon and gets to steal the Great Ruby of Wondrousness, he''s gonna want a refund if he summons a demon who turns on him and chews up his equipment.

A lot of this comes down to your target audience and the contract you have with them. If they''re paying nothing and you have sufficient disclaimers, it would probably work. If they all pay for your game, yet get varying and arbitrary levels of service, many will complain. And, some will probably sue too

Now, a constructive idea, which may help regulate your system (but perhaps remove the malevolent behaviour which I think you also want):

Make it so that the magic users in your game have to pray to their gods. Make this take a few seconds of game time so that it''s not considered irrelevant, and ignore any prayers done by one character more often than once per real-life hour (or some other arbitrary amount) to discourage macroing.

Now, make the power available to your gods proportional to their percentage of the prayers to all gods in the last week/month/whatever. This allows players to give some sort of feedback towards their gods, empowering them or not, as the case may be. Gods that displease their followers may therefore lose power. People could form cults to try and get their favourite god into ascendancy. There could also be rituals that you could perform which count as more ''powerful'' prayers, reflecting the added effort on the players'' part. Some people might like to see mass destruction and would back the evil gods anyway. (Imagine an evil god who could grant 2 major powers to his followers: the ability to summon a Very Annoyed Demon, and the ability to grant a character immunity to Death By Demon for 1 minute.)

I also think that restricting the gods'' abilities to certain spheres of influence (weather, combat, craft skills, etc) will encourage some diversity, rather than everyone backing The Big God, which might get boring quick. Some form of natural opposition (fire vs. water, good vs. evil, lawful vs. chaotic, nature vs. mechanical etc) might help so that when a certain god gets too big, people know who to rally behind in order to combat the threat.
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Perhaps the gods shouldn''t have absolute power. Maybe they could have a godly strength level. Just like with magic, only on a larger scale. Plus, the gods should, in my opinion, only have a limited view of the world. Like a person only without the limitations of a body. (look inside a castle without having to find a way in) That way, people could do things behind the god''s back. Maybe you could also have each god have his own shrine. If the shrine is destroyed, the god returns to his physical self. That way, people have the ability to bring down a god if they want.

E:cb woof!
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So, Kylotan, you *sniff* actually LIKE and idea of mine?
*sniff* I''m sooo happy!


OOPS! I was actually assuming varied power levels and differing spheres of control! Thank you for pointing that out; I shall state it formally: "In order for this system to work, I think you would need varying power levels and spheres of control amongst that gods."

Also, I definitely think the only way gods can harm eachother is through the mortal "favors" they pull. This would lead to some inevitable conflict. And when the gods are at war... duck, lightning bolt!

The most interesting characters in here might be thosein service of a particular god. Like, what makes a death-knight tick? Why''s he such a meanie? Now we get to find out! I;m still really against justifiying powers playerside with points, I really like the arbitrary, mysterious nature of knowing you are not in control. It''s... Faustian.

As for those who would complain when they recieve bad karma... we will warn you. Don''t deal with the devil. You''ll never come out on top.

=)
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quote:
Original post by Landfish

Also, I definitely think the only way gods can harm eachother is through the mortal "favors" they pull. This would lead to some inevitable conflict. And when the gods are at war... duck, lightning bolt!




I would like to know how you imagined that one god could harm another god through favors of a mortal? Wouldn''t that require the mortals to be able to hurt gods (in which case the god isn''t so god-like after all)?

Please give an example.

Regards

nicba
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Why not make the gods high level players whos power is proportional to the amount of lower level players that pledge to follow them. You could implement a prayer command that would allow players to pray to a god of there choosing, and when prayed to the gods power would raise.
Then set up a shrine somewhere for each god that reflects his power base. So once you achieved godhood in the game, the purpose of the game would switch sort of...instead of doing the normal stuff, you would try to gain followers by doing favors for them, granting wishs, and what not, while also trying to kill off or recruit other gods followers in the hopes that one day you'll be the only god left alive.
You could even give them avatars that are stronger near there shrine then have thier power decrease by some function of thier relative power and the distance they are from there shrine, so as they perform more wishs and amass more followers, they'd be able to go out on raids against rival religions and what not...You could even implement role playing and make the player choose a style/motto that he has to stick with when he becomes a god, then he would have to act like that.....the god of torment wouldn't help heal strangers to get them to like him, but he might threaten to kill them if they didn't pray to him.
You could give each god magic like abilities that would drain so much of his power, then allow a special chat thread between him and all his followers so he can talk to them and grant requests. They would have to balance how well they treat thier followers against how much power they can afford to waste while still holding the other gods at bay. If you waste all your power healing everyone in sight...you might not have enough left to fight of that army of followers some other god sent out to attack your shrine.

(I thought of designing a MUD around this concept sometime ago)

Edited by - jLeslie on June 1, 2000 8:05:29 PM
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Having gods be "high-level" players assumes that you are using "levels". Not your fault, you probly don''t know what kind of a freak I am... yet.

Anyway, as for the mortals hurting gods, there are several ways. The evil god could have his minions raze the countryside, destroying all temples and churches of his opponant. He could bestow the power to hurt gods upon particularly loyal humans. He could send the humans around doing particularly weaselly things in the name of a rival god, thus dissing him. The possibilities are vast. This is a war of belief, right?
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One slight problem with this system is that no one would really want to play an online game for ages and just be the "servant" of some god.

It sounds great in theory though, sort of religious wars, giving favours etc and acting like your god should act (mean, friendly etc). Perhaps if there was questing and other RPG elements and other stuff for the commoners to do then it could work, with the gods just being a feature.

Or it could be a single player game, where the player is the god, and must convert computer controlled characters, and do all the above stated godly stuff, and try to conquer other religions - like a religious RTS...? But then there is less feeling of controlling humans...

Hmmm, I like the idea though, just I would want to be a god, not a peasant! And I don''t know if I could be bothered playing a game where all I had to do was pray to a god or something like that...


wise_guy
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Landfish:
Ok, my fault, replace the words "high level" with "more evolved"

wise_guy:
The whole point of letting players be the gods would be the reason to play the game. You may start off as a weak peasant, but one day as you gather your power you may eventually reach godhood...Say, there has to always be a certain number of gods, if one gets killed, the person who kills him gets to take his place.
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Has anyone played a MUD called Faerun? It's set in the Forgotten Realms setting, but it's very good IMHO. Anyway, they have a system that is similar in some ways to what you're proposing. You actually have to pray and pay dues to the god that you choose every so often or you'll get thrown in hell where you can't do anything for like a real-time hr. The gods are actually players, and they do perform favors occasionally. Well that's my $0.02


Edited by - Nazrix on June 2, 2000 1:29:17 AM
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Landfish, I hope that when you make your first million off this idea you''ll remember us little people at gamedev.net .

Anyway, this sounds like a very interesting idea IF you can make the playing experience equally interesting for the players as well as the gods. How would one do this? Here are a couple ideas:

1) Allow players to have quite a bit of power against gods. For example, maybe a group of semi-experienced players could expel a god from an area if they worked together to get rid of them.

(warning: weird idea coming )

2) To add to the last idea, what if the plot set it so that all the gods were "bad", and the players needed to keep them in check? Think about it, the fun in being a god would probably be abusing your powers anyway, so why not let the players do what comes naturally anyway?

In fact, taking this a bit further, you could grant the evil gods the power to give gifts to people who chose to follow them. So basically, this would allow some players to become mercenaries for the gods for the promise of gold, power, whatever!

This isn''t a complete idea, of course. You''d have to do some things to limit the number of gods there are and the amount of power they have. But it could be somewhat interesting.

--TheGoop
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Wise_guy, bet you never played a paladin in D&D did you? Anyone who liked paladins should really go for this idea. As for all the other ideas put forth, they are all really good. Which one you go with is primarily based on what kind of mood you want. Since I wanted a kind of "Faust" thing, I like The Goops idea of them all being demons. But thas just me... =)

Edited by - landfish on June 3, 2000 11:32:13 PM
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