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Wavinator

Gameplay ideas for full-on nanotech society?

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Imagine a world where the use of nanotech is as common as the use of electricity today. For a sci-fi RPG, what gameplay options would you see opening up? Little nanites (microscopic machines) could practically be a futuristic gameworld's magic system. They could float through the air, stick to your clothes, form distributed spying networks, be used in combat, etc.. What sort of actions or functions could you see nanites performing? How deep / strategic would you like to see deployment of nanite options, considering that nanites are things you can't see. For instance, you could enter a room that suddenly begins misting up as waves of stealthed nanites break free from the walls and start attacking you. You would also, given hostile nanotech, need to factor in some sort of nanite defense (though this could be a biotech bodysuit, or defensive nanites secreted from your pores-- aka, automatic defense). How much explanation do you think the average sci-fi oriented player would need to even get into the possibilities of nanotech?

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That sounds like an absolutely awsome idea.

I don't have much time (I've got to get to bed), but here's what I think:

* It's excellent justification for being able to do out-worldly things.
* It could allow for variants of the typical spells -- for example, instead of fire storm, it could be electromagnetic storm
* It could allow for some very interesting forms of gameplay involving interactions between small numbers of these nanites. Just like atoms behave weird compared to "large" objects such as balls, so could nanites. I'm not sure what implications this could have right now, but I'm sure there's some interesting ones. Perhaps, just as there are different types of atoms, there could be different types of nanites. Certain configurations of nanites would have different affects -- just like different combinations (molecules) have different effects

An interesting consequence of this is that all "spells" with the nanites could allow the player to choose the type of nanites making up the "spell". It would get cool when, instead of just choosing a single type, you can mix them together to form "molecules" of nanites. The type of nanite composing the spell would affect the outcome.

Anyway, I've got to get to bed, so good luck!

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I think Deus Ex did a alright job on a potential Nanite Society. I say alright because half the implants were redundant and not to inspiring. Aqua-Lung, Radiation Shield, and Balistic Shield were all trumped by the healing power of Regeneration, probably more of a game-mechanic flaw than anything being wrong with the concepts themselves. Though when i saw the Reciprocator implant i figured it would use the kenetic energy of the Heart to slowly but naturally regenerate my nanites power supply, not reduce the energy cost, what a rippoff. :p

Some poeple could have batches of Nanites specially designed to inhabit their bodies, they could provide longevity, enchanced healing, and a variety of other things (like shopping!). Clever hackers or programmers could re-program the nanites for specific tasks, such as combat or bodily modification (though you could scramble your insides if you don't do it right, a kind of deterent to amatures and blackmarket mods).

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I was thinking about this earlier today, probably subconsciously inspired by the title of this thread. About a game that is set in a swords and sorcery world, which was actually created using ultra-high technology as a kind of fantasy world or theme-park (think of Westworld which is set in a Wild West theme park gone wrong). So things like Nanites would be used to give the illusion that people were able to do magic, or that "dragons" can breathe fire.

But what would happen if a disaster hit this world, and the people who used it originally stopped coming, so then the people left behind have to breed and create a society there? And the safety mechanisms start breaking down and the animatronic / nanite dragons become dangerous.

-- But I think that people would be put off by the weird mix of genres ie. starting off as sci-fi turning it wizardly fantasy.

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Espionage.

Spies could have personal nanites that assist them with stealth missions. Nanites could allow near-instantaneous facial reconstruction, skin tone alteration and clothing changes. The player would be a master of disguise.

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References to crazy awesome uses of nanotech actually date back quite a bit. One of the most famous coming from the well known and almost iconic manga called Gunnm (or Battle Angel) here in the states. The crazy professor in there becomes literally immortal as he constantly has a few hundred million units of regenerative nanites injected in his body. The question is usually just how long it takes to regenerate. One of the novel combat ideas for nanites in that manga was the berserker system. These nanites were injected into soldiers on suicide missions into enemy territory. When activated, the nanites decompose the soldier's body into an amorphous blob that had the sole purpose of causing chaos and devouring/assimilating anything within range. However, a controlled version of the berserker system makes it possible to grow weapons out of body limbs, like growing a blade from the outter edge of your lower arm. Of course, there are definite limitations due to material and energy requirements.

The other cool use of nanites I saw a while back was in the ill-fated series Spiderman Unlimited where Peter Parker developed a nanite based suit that he stores in his wrist watch when not used. When activated, the nanites cover his body to form the spidey suit. The new suit gave him some cool abilities, like optical camouflage. Also, it was remote controlled too, which means the suit can seperate from him and form a copy of spiderman somewhere else, warrant that it wasn't required to move. Kind of a cool decoy concept. Those are probably the most non-intrusive uses of nanites.

Probably the biggest challenge in designing a game with nanites is drawing the technology limitations. Because, theoretically, if you had nanomachines that could freely manipulate molecules, then the sky's the limit as to what you can do. Think I saw some B sci-fi flick where some bad guy was using doses to nanites to iteratively construct a bomb inside another person's body, which was nasty cool though.

Also, it should be noted that nanotech and nano-manipulation takes time. Deformation may take less time than construction, but just have to remember that nothing is instantaneous, especially on the nano level. Deploying a mist is a cool idea, but the question then becomes how long will it take and how dense does it need to be to actually be visible.

Nanites are also simple machines that do nothing but one thing. So, that's definitely a physical limitation, along with the fact that most of the times, only 10% (optimistically) of the deployed nanites may get to where they need to be to perform what they need to do.

So, apart from the many coonsiderations, if done correctly, nanites can be used as a concept to build a really cool game.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Little nanites (microscopic machines) could practically be a futuristic gameworld's magic system. They could float through the air, stick to your clothes, form distributed spying networks, be used in combat, etc..

What sort of actions or functions could you see nanites performing? How deep / strategic would you like to see deployment of nanite options, considering that nanites are things you can't see.

For instance, you could enter a room that suddenly begins misting up as waves of stealthed nanites break free from the walls and start attacking you.

You would also, given hostile nanotech, need to factor in some sort of nanite defense (though this could be a biotech bodysuit, or defensive nanites secreted from your pores-- aka, automatic defense).

How much explanation do you think the average sci-fi oriented player would need to even get into the possibilities of nanotech?


I think nanotech is a problem in games. [smile]

The issue, it seems to me, is that nanotech represents a genuine paradigm shift in how we construct and manipulate the environment around us.

Why would you have hostile nanites breaking from from the walls, when you could just have them suspended in the air to begin with? Or more precisely: how do you explain to the player why that doesn't happen, without disrupting his suspension of disbelief?

If a game had nanotech in it, this is the kind of gameplay things I'd expect to see:

I don't think nanites would be invisible. You can't usually see moisture drops in the air, but you can certainly see fog. I think that's what you'd see: a fog. You'd need equipment to be able to see through it as though it weren't there.

I don't think you'd have buildings or furniture in the traditional sense. Nanites would construct rooms as needed, partially out of themselves, partially out of fragments of high-tensile-strength Bucky-tubes which they would have floating about inside them, and partially out of purpose-built components they'd fabricate from raw elements.

It would be very difficult to get hurt. If you jumped off a high ledge, the nanites would support your weight and you'd float safely to the ground. With suitable equipment, you could use them to fly. They'd stop conventional bullets before they hit you, unless fired at very close range. They'd probably be programmed to recognise and disable weapons, anyway. They'd be able to form mirrors to deflect laser weapons. They'd form a second skin around you which would absorb the force of being hit by large objects.

None of that would apply if the nanotech's controller wanted you dead. Without nanotech of your own, you wouldn't stand a chance. It could form a second skin over you, blocking out air. It would conduct heat away from or into you, freezing or burning you to death. It would conduct electricty into you, electrocuting you. Oh, and it would contract, crushing your body into an unrecognisable pulp.

A nanotech society itself would be quite different from our society. Most material goods could be constructed in the home at only slighter more cost than factory production. The economy would therefore be largely communistic; the exceptions being non-abundant raw materials. Because of this, we'd find that common bulk materials would be the readily available organic materials: chiefly hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen.

It wouldn't be so dependent upon trade as other societies possibly would be. There would be trade for rare elements and a niche market for 'macrofactured' products, which would be considered quaint, just like keyboards. However, its main import would be information. Its exports would be many. Macrofacturing could not compete with the quality of nanofactured goods, which would be much sought after by industrial and military concerns.

You may find lack of government. With almost no need for economic legislation, and the nanofog making most physical crimes simply impossible, a government wouldn't have that much left to do.

For the player to have a good time, a nanotech world must either be pacific, or the player needs to have a large array of nanotech defense technologies. Most nanotech worlds should be politically neutral utopias; middle grounds where powerful opponents meet to settle scores diplomatically, knowing that they are almost completely safe.

Most of the interesting usages of nanotech in the game wouldn't be on nanotech worlds themselves, but on more primitive worlds. Responsible nanotech societies will sell medical and defensive nanites to nearly anyone that wants them. We could expect their usage to be widespread. More roguish societies might sell hideously offensive nanotech weapons to the highest, and lowest, bidders. Their usage would be tempered by the fact that the use of particularly powerful and indescriminate nanotech weapons would be illegal, and the 'light side' nanotech societies would be those charged with punishing transgressors.

So in summary I think the gameplay effects of nanotech would be thus:

A sparse array of 'light side' nanotech utopias which view themselves as guardians of the primitive worlds, helping them gradually evolve into societies which can use nanotech ubiquitously without destroying themselves.

A sparse array of 'dark side' nanotech dystopias which view themselves as masters of the primitive worlds, exchanging invisible weapons of terror and devices of population control for intelligence and political cachet.

Everyone else, caught up in the nanotech worlds' political machinations.

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I'm off to bed soon, but it would be a great idea if done correctly. Some features to follow could be:

-Evolving nanites.
-Custom nanites to a task (i.e.) to construct larger objucts, work as a neural network, spies, etc.)
-Bio-technological nanites to act on others a a virus. Or to stimulate unused areas of the brain to give the player additional abilities and have them as a computer themselves with the nanites directly linked to their cortex. Or ones to enhance the natural abilities of teh character and repair their physical makeup on a molecular level.
--On the same note having nanites taken from a foe you have defeated injected into you to gain their experiences.
-EMP thchnology to defeat bad ones.
-EMP shielding to prtect good ones.
-As far as storyline - evil corporation trying to advance in their technology to infest the masses with their new MC16 mind control nanites and give them complete control-your mission as an operative (moral) character in a competing nanotechnological company must put and end to their plans, using the tech. your company has developed, funding new developments in what technology to persue (i.e. the nanites (well types) would have thier own advancement level dependant on how much funding you choose to divirte to each type) as well as capturing technologies from the evil company to reeingeneer to suite your needs.
-Anything else you can pull from a few epidodes of Stargate.
-Viral nanites to reprogram CPU's and other nanites.
-Espionage
-Character would require special instruments to diagnose and even detect such devices.

I think it could work out rather well and would love to play it. So do you think you can have a demo out in a few weeks? <joking>

Would involve some pretty intense AI.

The game could have aspects of FPS/Puzzle/Strategy/Adventure/RPG all in one.

Well goodnight.

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