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grbrg

All possible game ideas have already been done!

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Could it be? Are there no more game ideas that have not already been done before? What made me think about this is basically the music industry. In music there are only a countable set of notes a composer can use to form a song from. If there are only a finite set of notes, this obviously implies that there are a finite number of possible songs - experts guess that all the possible songs have already been written! You hear "new" songs more and more rely on old songs to cover, because they just don''t seem to be able to come up with new tunes on their own... Can this be applied to games as well? After all, there are only a certain number of different game ideas (not counting slight variations). Take a RPG for example: What kind of missions are there? Fetch an item and bring it to some place or person, kill a monster (or all monsters). Aren''t all quest just variations of this basic tasks? Background stories for games are another example - they just sound all the same. Most of them could be exchanged easily without the players noticing... Not only that: Can not all games be cut down to a basic idea that stands behind it? And there are only a certain number of game ideas (for each genre maybe)... Brilliant new game ideas have become rare nowadays - most games that are reviewed as "revolutions" are just simple alterations of games already done, or combine elements of two game into one. But some time there will be not be anything new left to try. Do you think there is only a finite set of possible games? Do you think we are close to having explored all of them? Apart from technical improvements, will there come a time when no new games will be made any more and people lose their interest in playing? Or am I just babbling nonsense? ------------------------------ There are only 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don''t.

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By your logic, since a human lifetime is finite, and any song requires nonzero time to hear, there is a finite number of songs a person can listen to in his/her lifetime even if there could be an infinite number of songs composed.

Obviously, though, that kind of thinking is ridiculous. And just as there is effectively no limit to the number of stories that can be written, so too is there effectively no limit to the number of games that can be written.

Now, in terms of game genres or the basic gameplay mechanic, that is more finite, but still very large.

Take Knights of the Old Republic for example. A turn-based RPG. Yawn. But it was done very well and had a good story. Similarly, books can be classified as "murder mystery" for example, but that doesn''t mean all murder mysteries are the same except in terms of quality. It''s the implementation that makes it good, not the core concept.

~CGameProgrammer( );

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Unfortunately we are currently constrained by our medium. we have set inputs and set outputs, and hence why we have specific groupings of games. The main differentiator between the types are the styles of play, feature sets, and playability.

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quote:
Original post by CGameProgrammer
Obviously, though, that kind of thinking is ridiculous.
Why? Music as well as stories and games is made up of a finite number of elements, even more so if you filter out the variations (name, settings, ...). Isn''t it logical to conclude there is a limited number of combinations?

------------------------------
There are only 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don''t.

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It depends on how you look at it. Condense every song down to its chord structure and you''ll start to think that there are very, very few possible songs out there. But then factor in things like different instruments, strum patterns, timing, lyrics, individual playing styles, etc. and the number of possible songs balloons to an unthinkably large number.

So if you condense games into base genres and start thinking of them only as fetch-quests RPG, kart racer, 3D platformer, etc. it''s easy to only see a few possible games. It''s in the implementation, the final construction of the material components, that the variety is formed.

We''re not going to run out of games any time soon. Besides, even if we somehow do, so what? Poker and chess are both over a thousand years old and you don''t see anyone getting tired of them. In a thousand years, people will still be playing Tetris.

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I agree with CGameProgrammer: whether there''s a theoretical limit on the number of games is irrelevant, because such number would be beyond human comprehension, and in reality people don''t care even if they were playing a remake of a different game, as long it is fun.

If you want my thoughts on a more abstract level (that is, ignoring the fact that human beings only live a certain amount of time and the resources available to us are limited), I''d say it all depends how you define "variation", "new" etc.
and how abstractly you approach the question.

For instance, if you consider RPGs more abstractly, instead of swords, armors, potions etc. you have items, and instead of orcs, goblins etc. you have creatures. These two can be categorized into the class entity. By continuing this process you end up saying that every instance of the idea of a game is just a variation of a game (a game on an very abstract and platonic level), and since games have existed for a long time already, then no, there have been no new ideas, since all games are just games. That is, on this abstraction level. You referred to slight variation, but the word "slight" is a bit fuzzy, so it doesn''t really specify the level of abstraction.

Also, it would be open to debate whether the real amount of possible games is finite. I mean, even though in reality you always have a finite amount of notes in a song, you could always consider songs with infinite length. Similarly, you could have games of infinite length.

Even if we only considered games of finite length, consider a game where the point is to play two other games in succession. Since this too is a game, this would lead to infinately many new combinations of games, of arbitrary, but always finite, length.

So as for the question: I don''t think there is only a finite set of possible games, but I also think it is beside the point, since no one lives long enough to play or even remember all those games, and most of those games will never be made anyway (and indeed it would probably be impossible to make most of the games anyway). The question is philosophical at best.

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I''ve just come up with what I think could be a unique game idea.

Ok, the overall concept introduces elements of strategy and planning, but also challenges the player to make rapid decisions and to outsmart multiple opponents all at once. Mind you, this game is very high on action, despite what this is starting to sound like.

The playing field would be a maze haunted by ghosts. The ghosts cannot pass through walls or anything, though. We''re not talking about those kinds of ghosts. The maze would also contain a series of round "pellets" the player (a giant yellow mouth; yellow in homage to the Simpsons) would have to eat. In order to pass a level, the player has to eat all pellette in a given map. Touching a ghost, as may be expected, will send the yellow mouth to an untimely demise.

Three elements add further strategy to this game.

1- The maze loops around. That is, if you get to the edge, you can cross over to the other side in some places and end up at the other edge of the maze. The ghosts may or may not be able to follow.

2- Four big pellets are scattered around the maze. Picking one up gives the yellow mouth temporary invulnerability and allows it to eat the ghosts, which respawn in the center of the map after a short moment.

3- Sometimes, a random piece of fruit will appear in the middle of the map. This is merely worth extra points.

All in all, I think this game would be quite unique. I''ll give programming it a shot and will post screenshots here, if people are interested. And to the OP, quite glad to''ve proven you wrong. I came up with an original design never done before in a matter of moments.

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quote:
Original post by RuneLancer
I''ve just come up with what I think could be a unique game idea.

<Pac-Man>.
That wasn''t even funny.

@grbrg:
Here''s where your analogy breaks down - the very beginning. A song isn''t merely an arrangement of notes; it is tempo, syncopation, verve, and, above all, lyrics. Are there only a finite set of words? No, because new words are created all the time. Thus there is no finite set of expressions, even though they be of the same fundamental concepts (love, pain, angst, etc).

The relationship between music and gaming is so tenuous that your having chosen such an absurd basis for such an absurd thought is laughable. Why didn''t you try to reason that all possible stories had been written, that all possible movies had been made (God knows enough of them are either dramatizations of old books or remakes of old movies)?

More importantly, however, is the fact that number is unimportant. There are Broadway shows that have run for years - decades even. Then a few years later, they have a revival of the same damn show! Why is that? Well, other posters have already given you all the answers.

Please, stop to think before posting these alarmist threads. There is very little intrinsic value in something being "new" (consider that some of the most "precious"/expensive items on earth are by no means new - I refer to jewels), so the supposed death of the new is no cause for alarm - or anything else, either.

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I think the whole concept is ridiculous. Sure, there are limiting factors in anything humans do. But an intelligent person will always find something new and interesting to throw into their work. If you can''t find something new, you''re not trying hard enough. Things can be combined in so many different ways. Similarly to your music example, experts say that in writing, there are only 13 stories possible in this world, if you break everything down to its bare minimum. However, as you can see, there are well over 13 stories in the world. Same thing applies to almost everything.

As far as the music goes, if people are having such a hard time composing new songs, don''t you think its time for another music revolution?

Matthew Overstreet

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