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gartland

Collective narrowing of thought......and MM games

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I''ve been following the recent discussions a while and there seem to be a tendency to collectively narrowing the scope of ideas here. This is quite obvious regarding RPG-likes. I agree that this genre still has the larges potential, at least in MM-settings. So, here''s an idea for thought: Consider an MM world with economics (that work and run), changeable world (building and destrying things), some A*Life inhabitants running around doing their daily chores. At the moment the player enters the game he/she is set in a viewing mode where some form of ''etheral'' travel is possible. Look, but not touch. After a while the player have choosen a character to play (based on location, occupation, looks, etc) and selects to ''possess'' this character for a while. At that moment the character is commanded by the player (in a more detailed way than The Sims) and may embark on adventuring. The player plays as long as he/she wishes and when this session ends, the character stills exists in this virtual world, but is given back it''s own mind (may have some funny side-effects...), but since this character in itself is not a risk-taker, he/she heads for home. Of course, if the character is left alone in a dangerous situation, etc he/she may die (permanently), so there should be some incentive for the player to at least bring the character on a safe path home before leaving. The interesting part with this idea is the possibility to actually simulate a complete world (to some degree) with real inhabitants (we''ve already seen that this is possible in games such as Creatures, etc). We could even send reports of the characters progress/life to the ''possessor'' by e-mail, etc. So, in essence, we remove the problems that relate to temporal existence in the game. The character exists the whole time and the player only uses it. What do you think?

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Interesting idea...
But intstead of being able to turn a farm wife into a dragon slayer, why not create a world that is empty of NPCs except for monsters; then, the players create characters and give them one or two preset AI scripts so that when they log off, their characters act like NPCs. Then, when they log back in, they pick right up? And weekly or bi-weekly have the admins see what roles aren''t being taken up and make some generic NPCs to fill them until players come along and take them.


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Sure, these refinements are possible.

If one adds another interaction level in this model, the GM, the possibilites are vast. Imagine, some player may want to only observe skilled or funny players playing their characters (with permission of course), some may want to play characters and others may want to partake in building the world. Neverwinter Nights seem to follow some of the GM-thought here, but this idea differ in that the GM''s should not ''own'' the world, only be able to build parts of it (with possible access levels in scope here too). The GM can not play directly, but could build structures (buildings, cities, countries, plots, history, etc). I guess this model could even catch the interest of the casual gamer more than today, broadening the diversity and participation in the world. Imagine some playing in this world similar to playing The Sims (GM''s), some overriding character behaviour by acting as characters and some only watching the whole thing as TV.

Critics on design/implementation-barriers generated by this model with pros and cons (also compared to the more traditional ways today) are welcome.

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I really like the idea of "possessing" a pre-existing character. It''s original. One thing that bugged me though was how you described their actions after the player logs off. It seems kind of unnatural for someone to be milking cows one morning and all of a sudden drop the bucket and go kill a dragon, and then equally suddenly drop their armor in a heap and walk home. Why not have the way the player "plays" the character affect the way it behaves when they leave? Perhaps some creative use of genetic algorithms could be applied to allow a "toned down" simulation of the actual players behavior. Obviously less risk taking would be adviseable for the NPC version as it wouldn''t be intelligent enough to judge dangerous situations...

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Actually, if you''ve ever seen the Exorcist, then you know drastic behavioral changes are not uncommon during possession. This method obviously invests a lot of effort in AI. Of course, there are easier ways to fix temporal existence in MM games. An AI which can continue without your input would be an ideal solution, but is unlikely to work well, especially if the game must control the AI of hundreds of characters at once. You could always use a ''wandering adventurer'' if the player is logged off s/he is assumed to be adventuring elsewhere. Perhaps only allow exiting at certain places. (Town gates, wilderness, etc.)

The GM idea is good too. The best way I can think of doing this is to have the GM-players take a character like everyone else and enact changes through the character like everyone else. If the person wishes to write history, they play as historian. If they wish to build a city, have them as a arcitect of sorts. This way you can control their actions and even allow them to level-up. Their histories would be accepted more easily by the Historical Commitee (or whatever), they would be able to build larger towns, etc.

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sounds a lot like my idea for a MM type game:

players start off by choseing to be either an angel or demon...in this mode they can run [and fly] any where they chose...they cannot harm each other in this mode...but they can communicate with each other but not the "real world" inhabits...however the only way for them to do anything meaninful is to posses a "real world" creature/charactor...when they do this they are limited to what the creature/charactor can do [in this mode they can''t see or hear all the angels/demons running around them]...the longer the player posses a creature/charactor the stronger they become [both creature/charactor and angel/demon]...players would start off only able to posses small animals like mice...then eventually move up to humans, dragons, etc...only one angel/demon can posses a creature/charactor at a time [and cannot be "pushed out" by a stronger angel/demon]...players can "pop out" of one creature/charactor and into another [as long as they are "free"] as they wish...but if the creature/charactor were to die while the player posses them, they must start over...

This would, hopefully, add a whole lot of stratigy and promote teamplay...a group of players could split into two sub-groups...one controling a "real world" village...the others flying about watching over them...if danger is nearby a "watcher" could pop into a surf or something and procede to warn the village leader...however if the other side were to find this "free" surf, they could spread dissinformation...if you are under attack and the charactor you are in control of is near dieing...you could pop out to save your angel/demon...but if you do, there could be a angel/demon just waiting to take them over from you [imagine that you control the village leader...under attack by demon controlled forces...poping out could mean the village falls under demon rule]...tons of gameplay possibilities

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The background idea for this post was to design an MM-game as a Sci-Fi world simulator. The classical RPG-like elements as heavy emphasis on fighting and booring chores (digging for metal, chopping wood, etc) and stat-cap''ing should NOT be a part of the world. Instead it should emphasize on interaction and the players possibility ''to make a difference'' in this world.

So, to further the tought, this world should simulate aspects of a possible real-world, including economics, politics, disputes and warfare (empire-scale). I''ve been reasearching agent-based computational economics a little and found that the technology is really within grasps to accomplish this.

A spice idea was to include a ''AI Character Plug-In''-system where important NPC''s as heroes, leaders, tycoons, etc could have their (almost) complete AI life as the guys in Creatures and the world would change based in some of their actions.

Thanks Forneiq, your way of incorporating GM-elements has great. It would really contribute to the reality-feeling of the game.

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I had this idea awhile ago too, so naturally I think its great I thought of it as a more modern, real-world type environment maybe with sci-fi elements; I don''t understand why everyone on this board gravitates towards medieval fantasies and dragons.... but I''m glad to see someone who doesn''t, gartland

Maybe you could have a pre-designed/built AI community from which anyone can choose to possess, and let players make their own entity whom they have possession over. The pre-mades would already have houses and jobs and material possesions, but these ones couldn''t be owned by a player. The right to own an entity means starting with nothing and working that entity up from rags to riches, so to speak.

Rather than only let GMs build and such, also give players the ability to do this. Obviously it takes resources and manpower to build and expand, so players can''t just arbitrarily place new buildings or whatever.

As far as technological limitations go, I believe that exceptional graphics could be sacrificed for better gameplay ( -GASP!- )

MSW - I like your ideas, but what if the spirit-creatures (angels and demons) COULD interact in ethereal form? Not with the ''real world'' except for posession, but could battle against each other? Give them immense power and let them make war. Then when one doesn''t want to fight they can posess someone in the material world.

Anyways, that''s just what I think. How about you?

Nothing is difficult, only the mind makes it so.

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Actually I though that for the game idea I described that it would take place in the biblical "eden"...no knights, dragons and all that...it would be a perpetual world...the creatures/charactors would mate and produce offspring, etc.. this would allow the game world to evolve over time, with the various angel/demons haveing some power in the direction it takes...But keep things as simple as possible...make it much closer to the Zelda series of games then Ultima...this isn''t a RPG per say, but rather something different...the idea is basicly simular to the up comeing game Black and White...but promote player teamplay over the usual "player as god" approch taken in games of that genre...

Crankdude - As for angel/demon conflict...I had planned on adding a Joust like game mechanic...when flying in angel/demon form and players collide, whichever player is at a higher altitude "wins"...the "loser" would simply fall a little ways while playing some short animation sequence [like he got the wind knocked out of him, etc..]...during this 1-2 second sequence the player cannot do anything [pop into creatures/charactors, etc..] but it has no permanite effect on the player [it would seem more of an anoyance then anything]...but in situations where multitudes of angels/demons are scrambleing to posses a "free" creature/charactor, this would be a powerful game mechanic...also this would only work when angels and demons collide, not when two players of the same type collide...

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