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Garmichael

A game concept: "The Guy"

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My friend and I have been conceptualizing a rather intense game. I know that the depth of this game isnt really possible with today's technology, but I have little doubt that it woudlnt be possible in 5-10 years. With that said, here's some of the concept points. You start out with a character creation tool similiar to Tony Hawk's, but more realistic. Once you've made your character to look just like you do, you start the game. You're in your room, and your girlfriend wakes you up. She tells you to get bread and milk from the store. And from there, you go. Its all open based. Its a mid ized GTA3 type city (but with residential neighborhoods and more realism). You do what you want, when you want to. Depending on your choises, the game reacts to you differently. For example, if you never get the bread and milk, your girlfriend bitches at you. Thats pretty standard stuff. Now, the main concept behind "The Guy" is that you start developing pyschological defects. You start going crazy. But its all based on how you play the game. some examples would be: -If you wash your hands alot, you become obsessive compulsive. You start to loose health if you dont continue to wash your hands all the time. You will also start loosing touch with reality, and when talking to people, you are only given options to say crazy things in response such as "Yeah.. yeah.. yeah.. uhm. yeah.. do youy know where a bathroom is.. yeah.. say yeah for me.". The funny thing is that the more you adhere to your obsession, the stronger it gets and the more of a neccissity it becomes. -If you rarely go on top of roofs or up ladders or anything, you start developing a fear of heights. When you have a fear of heights, the ground looks really far away and swayus back and forth, or rotates slightly. You also loose some ability to determine how far away the ground is. You may go up a ladder to change a lightbulb, and the ground will look like its a mile away. -Arachnophobia.. if you kill lots of spiders, then you start to fear them. These are just a couple of examples, but i plan to have a whole slew of obsessions and fears and such. Also, I want to make it so that if the player themselves have those obsessions or fears, they start to manifest in the character they're playing. Ive alreayd though of a few ways to do this. The option to use legal and illegal substances will be available. You will also be able to get addicted to a drug. Overall, this game is meant to be sort of a 'mind fuck'. If you are done playing, you have to go to your house, and lay down in bed, and while you're asleep, you're given the option to quit. Since the game would save every 2 minutes, If you quit while out in the town, when you turn the game on again, something jacked up has happened since the game interprets that you either passed out on the street or sort of went on 'autopilot' for a while, as if you were possessed. One example would be once you load up, the screen is all black. You would immediatly be given somestuff to say. or you could be silent by not saying anything. All the mean while, you hear voices saying stuff like "Where should we put the body if he doesnt talk". If you choose osmehting to say, then you words are all muffled. Then you start to see light again, and its a mobster standing over you. He throws a bandana on the ground, and thats your clue that you were blind folded. then you're subjected to torture and told to answer questions that you know nothing about. Oh, and in this game, if you die. its over. the end. You must start over. Also, as you become more and more crazy, you start to become delusional. An Idea we had was that as youre walking past a park, you see imp monsters about 4 foot high running around and shooting fireballs. You can either confront them and attack them or soemthing, or you can run from them. If you confront them, they turn ut to be children. If you run from them, you become even more delussional and manifestations haunt you even more. This game would be sort of played like a mix between The Sims, Fable, and Knights of the Old Republic. Except NO rpg element. I mean, no menus, no stats, nothing. But as you play, you have the choice to do missions and stuff for people. The game would probably have no end, sort fo like the Sims. Theres no real goal other than to live and cope with your insanity. Of course, theres a bunch of details I still have to hammer out. Ive got a notebook full of insanities and fears, as well as missions, reactions, delusions, and random crazyness. Im also going to be studying psychology on an amature level just to get some sense of why and how poeple develop fears and insanities. I want the whole game to flow so smoothly that you dont notice yourself getting crazier. What do you think about the games general concept? I know it sounds sort of like "Whats the point", but i see this sort of as a stoner's version of The Sims.

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Sounds like a funny game too play. It appeals to me because I don't like that all-to-perfect attitude of games like the Sims. It's not funny playing games where you have to remember to wash the dishes and the like, it has to be more of a social life survival game.
I think that the game is possible to make if you're being fair about the graphical requirements. The engine could be created in a way that allowed the game to evolve over time, so that new game concepts could be added on the fly (abbility to join a mob, open a store in the crazy ass town etc).

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How do you 'win'? Sounds to me like the longer you play, the more messed up your character gets, until they become a dysfunctional quivering heap. Alternatively they die. Sounds too much like real life to me... :P

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hahah, yeah. I think Death is the end of the game. At some point, your character will be so mindlessly insane that functioning will be nearly impossible.


oh, one detail i forgot was that I intend this game to be all First Person. I find that this view gets the player 'into' the character alot. Plus, I think its pretty important that the player sees what the character sees and can look around and focus on specific things.

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How the heck do you become afraid of spiders after you kill them a lot? Wouldn't you become less afraid as a result?

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Well actually I once killed a spider for my mom, but it was so huge, i was so damn scared, now im scared of spiders so I suppose killing them alot would do it.

I think its a cool concept although not really a game as such, more of a simulation? The idea that this guy gets messed up in the head is a bit strange, maybe he doesnt have to get some sort of mental disorder maybe he can live a normal life and grow old.

Id like the idea of a game where you can just live and do what you want like in fable, get wife, eat, drink, get drunk, buy houses, get a job. Like sims with an edge :)

Kool concept, keep me updated =)

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Sounds like a funny game too play. It appeals to me because I don't like that all-to-perfect attitude of games like the Sims. It's not funny playing games where you have to remember to wash the dishes and the like, it has to be more of a social life survival game.
I think that the game is possible to make if you're being fair about the graphical requirements. The engine could be created in a way that allowed the game to evolve over time, so that new game concepts could be added on the fly (abbility to join a mob, open a store in the crazy ass town etc).

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Yeah, the graphics would not be the most important part in a game like this. Heck, I could see it working as a text adventure. Perhaps you should have "The Guy" starting out with a random mental deficiency (like, freshly escaped from a mental hospital), and then have the "goal" of the game be to avoid the guards from the hospital while clinging to your sanity.

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Well, as somebody who's been futzing around with how to convey a sci-fi life I've really got no call to ask this, but I'm going to anyway: How big's your target audience? The draw of The Sims isn't that it's about average life. That only serves as a hook to get people playing who otherwise would not. The Sims is really about 7 or 8 stat timers which you have to strategically balance while trying to advance yourself. The stat timers (needs) act as short term goals and because they're expiring timers create a low-level andrenaline-based excitement. The fact that they're spread out over a 2D grid creates time-based strategic decision making gameplay. Compare Space Colony, the only competitor I know of, which uses different needs but creates the same interesting and intensive pressure.

(The Sims also inspires character identification, the traditional tamogochi style "gardening" gameplay found in Sim games, and creativity through level building... but I'd put money down that those wouldn't be interesting without the timers)

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Original post by Garmichael
Depending on your choises, the game reacts to you differently. For example, if you never get the bread and milk, your girlfriend bitches at you.


You'll have some challenges with content here unless this is a one off event, i.e., you don't care about replay value. If we hear the gf complain with the same voice over lines we'll become numb.

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Now, the main concept behind "The Guy" is that you start developing pyschological defects. You start going crazy.
But its all based on how you play the game.
some examples would be:
-If you wash your hands alot, you become obsessive compulsive. You start to loose health if you dont continue to wash your hands all the time. You will also start loosing touch with reality, and when talking to people, you are only given options to say crazy things in response such as "Yeah.. yeah.. yeah.. uhm. yeah.. do youy know where a bathroom is.. yeah.. say yeah for me.". The funny thing is that the more you adhere to your obsession, the stronger it gets and the more of a neccissity it becomes.
-If you rarely go on top of roofs or up ladders or anything, you start developing a fear of heights. When you have a fear of heights, the ground looks really far away and swayus back and forth, or rotates slightly. You also loose some ability to determine how far away the ground is. You may go up a ladder to change a lightbulb, and the ground will look like its a mile away.


You'll need some incentive to do something or you'll quit playing. Try out this RPG as a quick testbed: Stickman RPG
Try playing it for a couple of hours and you'll see how important it is for a game to have some sort of competitive pressure / problems to solve in order to maintain its interest

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-Arachnophobia.. if you kill lots of spiders, then you start to fear them.


Agreed with the poster above, this should maybe be changed to some other type of exposure. Unless you want the player to obsess over killing them, which is different from fear.

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These are just a couple of examples, but i plan to have a whole slew of obsessions and fears and such.


The problem I see here is that unless you have a system with goals, gameplay options to attain them and strategic tradeoffs, you'll be creating nothing more than a pretty artistic statement. That's no problem if that's what you want, but you'll need something more to turn it into a real game.

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Also, I want to make it so that if the player themselves have those obsessions or fears, they start to manifest in the character they're playing. Ive alreayd though of a few ways to do this.


:/ You mean you want the player of your game to develop an obsessive compulsive trait?

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The option to use legal and illegal substances will be available. You will also be able to get addicted to a drug.


Taking Fallout and various meds (Radaway, for ex) as a model, the only reason why you cared about addiction was because it presented some type of challenge to what you cared about. You needed radaway to navigate some areas of the game, and with certain characters thus had to risk addiction. I think Stims worked the same way... if you wanted an edge in combat (something you had to care about it you wanted to live--ie, keep playing-- or level up--ie, feel progress and change gameplay)

As I read your concept I imagine that I'd have a tough time caring about my character. Addiction would matter if it a) made me make strategic tradeoffs that I didn't want to make or b) presented interesting gameplay that was otherwise inaccessible.

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If you are done playing, you have to go to your house, and lay down in bed, and while you're asleep, you're given the option to quit.


Play the stick figure RPG and don't use the backpack option to teleport back home. Walking back home after working at McDonalds (aka McSticks) or going to school becomes aggrevating. Simple things you want to always be able to do should be the default choice, and therefore practically automatic.

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Since the game would save every 2 minutes, If you quit while out in the town, when you turn the game on again, something jacked up has happened since the game interprets that you either passed out on the street or sort of went on 'autopilot' for a while, as if you were possessed.


The problems I have here are:
1) it seems as if you're just being malicious, which severely disrespects your players' playing time, which is not a way to win new customers
2) if you're going to put the work into making bad things happen, they should be challenges, not things you fall into by dealing with a kludgy save system
3) spacing or passing out is thematically integrated into the concept of what you're proposing, and should thus be things players are TRYING to do, which means you should reward them

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One example would be once you load up, the screen is all black. You would immediatly be given somestuff to say. or you could be silent by not saying anything. All the mean while, you hear voices saying stuff like "Where should we put the body if he doesnt talk". If you choose osmehting to say, then you words are all muffled. Then you start to see light again, and its a mobster standing over you. He throws a bandana on the ground, and thats your clue that you were blind folded.


See, here would be an interesting hook. You'd need to fleshout the gameplay options because right now what you really have is a crude puzzle: Press talk option, win; don't press, die. Abstract A/B choices with no input as to consequences are inarguably BAD choices.

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then you're subjected to torture and told to answer questions that you know nothing about.


Stop for a sec and think about this: So I'm tortured. So what? Why do I care? Does torture alter some stat, resource or skill that I care about for long term goals? Does it alter my play experience in such a way as to make the game different. IRL torture begets pain and focuses the victim on the near universal fear and regret of morbid dissolution. But in a game I could give a damn.

The only reason I fear death in games is because it means I'll lose something: Progress, should I care about making it; my limited gameplay time; or some resource, stat, opportunity or change in the world I wanted.

Since you're going into such existential territory it's hard to want anything. In GTA at least you wanted better cars (different gameplay experience + social cool factor); better weapons (more power + more ability to impact the world); and the ability to unlock missions (more gameplay goals and exploration + feeling of progress)

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Oh, and in this game, if you die. its over. the end. You must start over.


I think you're in designer mind rather than player mind, otherwise you'd never have suggested this. What does this feel like to YOU as a player?

To get a taste, I recommend that you play Escape Velocity Nova on strict pilot mode without a pod. You'll find yourself dying quite frequently, oftimes because of things far out of your control. This at some point becomes mindless.

AFAIK it's been shown that the only target audience that appreciates relentless repitition are 12-13 yo males who learn patterning and wish to master systems. If that's your target audience then this may work, but the longer the game goes and the more time you can invest in it, the harder a sell this I think will be.


Quote:

Also, as you become more and more crazy, you start to become delusional.
An Idea we had was that as youre walking past a park, you see imp monsters about 4 foot high running around and shooting fireballs. You can either confront them and attack them or soemthing, or you can run from them. If you confront them, they turn ut to be children. If you run from them, you become even more delussional and manifestations haunt you even more.


Problem again: The first time you may have a shock value, but it'll peter out very quickly into a "so what." Consider: You find that you're attacking children. Well, unless this means something in the world in terms of options, choices, strategic tradeoffs, resources, etc, don't expect the player to care, especially the more jaded ones (who in GTA will kill a prostitute after oral sex just for the fun of it)

If your delusions grow stronger, this again is a so-what unless it impacts the same critical gameplay elements I've mentioned above.

Finally, you've again presented an adventure game puzzle which loses its appeal after it is known. Once you know they're children if you don't want to make that choice you're left with the game designer's version of Hobbson's Choice-- i.e., a default that is no choice at all, and thus no fun.

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This game would be sort of played like a mix between The Sims, Fable, and Knights of the Old Republic. Except NO rpg element. I mean, no menus, no stats, nothing. But as you play, you have the choice to do missions and stuff for people.


Sorry, I'm really not trying to eviscerate your idea, but I strongly recommend that you not mimick another game or even draw influence from it until you understand WHY the elements exist as they do.

Why do KOTR, Fable, The Sims (on console) or even GTA have missions at all? Missions do present interesting puzzles and combat challenges, yes. But if it's puzzles you're after, then you're making an adventure game, in which case you'll be working in a declining market where you'll need good graphics and an even better story; if combat is your selling point then you'll need to create a good, no-nonsene combat engine which satisfies the expectations of that crowd.

Look for example at what became of American McGee's Alice. It too was touted as a trippy psychological game; so was Sanitarium. But under the hood these games had to rely on nuts and bolts adventure / reflexes gameplay.

Missions exist in the games you mentioned, btw, because they advance something care about-- and that's the element you're proposing to discard, advancement. Advancement begets investment which begets emotional attachment and ultimately a good experience as you take your beloved avatar through challenge after challenge.

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Of course, theres a bunch of details I still have to hammer out. Ive got a notebook full of insanities and fears, as well as missions, reactions, delusions, and random crazyness. Im also going to be studying psychology on an amature level just to get some sense of why and how poeple develop fears and insanities. I want the whole game to flow so smoothly that you dont notice yourself getting crazier.


Before you do that I'd really suggest getting some gameplay fundamentals clear first. Greg Costikyan is my favorite source for this, but Chris Crawford has some good stuff too. This 1994 article, I Have No Words And I Must Design is Game Design 101, IMHO.


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I know it sounds sort of like "Whats the point", but i see this sort of as a stoner's version of The Sims.


If there are a bazillion underserved stoners out there very much pissed off because no game caters to their unique perspective on reality, I stand corrected. Design away. But otherwise, please do check out the resources I mentioned so that your very fresh perspective can have a chance at coalescing into a cool yet workable game.

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I find your design ver yinteresting since you play with actual human physcology, but I also deeply agree with the above poster.
Yous game, lacks a definite goal/aim.
As a desginer, you have to keep asking

"What is the player purpose in this game?"

The common mistake (I think) a game designer do, is to create a real complex system which is very interesting to him but fails to remember that it's not the designer who ultimately enjoy the game, it's the player.

even in game that you say have no goal such as GTA & Sims, but those game actually have a goal, in GTA, for example, you can try to raise money and get the best car and solve your mission, in the sims, player can build a house, have a great career & family (the sims 2 have more of this goal with all the sims rewad and career reward and thus give player much more thing to do).

but what will the player want with you game? what will he do? explore his/her fears (which, in your design, the more they explore to this fears, the more it manifest in their character, and quite possibly, their actual life)

a game needs some kind of a goal to reach in order for the player to have interest to play, because from my point of view, there's no reward whatsoever in your game, everything the player do, or will do, will add more fear.

Unless you give the player some kind of goal like, curing their fears/phobia by doing stuff, e.a going to the doctor, to the opposite things, this way you can create a some event that base off the player's luck whether they succeded in these event or not.

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