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Wavinator

Gameplay ideas for virtual servant?

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In the future, you can do nothing without your virtual servant. It makes your coffee, finds you work, brutally assassinates your enemies-- heck, it'll even walk your dog! In a future where the world is permeated with nanotechnology and AI, what sort of gameplay might you expect of a virtual servant? Some possibilities I can see: * Have it automatically find you work or bring to you NPCs of interest * Improve it through training and personal interaction * Carry out abstract actions that are fun to decide upon at a high-level, but boring to handle in detail, like rigging an election (or other ideas?) * Act as a smart journal / mission briefer where the world state is concerned, effectively becoming a conduit for summarizing information that's about to happen, that's happening elsewhere, or that would be hard to show
Obviously, I have a few sketchy ideas, but alternatives or expansions are MOST welcome. I'm seeing a world where everyone has a digital servant, and where a huge chunk of gameplay is funneled through its iconic and text options.

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Programmable!
Seriously.

I guess it's stretching things, but why not? Just a simple scripting tool would do wonders. You could actually make it automate actions by pressing a record button and doing the set of commands yourself. Type in a timing algorithm and let it go to work. I need one of these IRL.

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Aside from a pet ala EQ or a game guide:

- Workers: you virtual servents, or better yet a gang of them, work for you building, doing sales, etc. The higher level, the more servants, the greater works you can accomplish. One servant can make you coffee; ten can build you a home.

- Avatars: In a world ravaged by nanites, a servant may be the only thing others see of you. Your "physical" body is at home and interacts with other people in your sphere of influence...however if you travel, it's you servant that travels for you and speaks in your stead (depending on AI). You could even go full on Assimov and have no one see your physical body and your servant IS you; this would be considered consistent in a world overtaken by tech...no sense wasting the flesh!

- Familiar: for the leechers, a digital servant is a handy source to leech when you are low. for the engineers, a digital servant is a handy source of labor and spare parts.

- Offline assistant: in an online game, your digital pal could be the only thing that interacts with the world when you are offline (ie asleep). It will take your calls and defend you castle autonomously if necessary

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To be able to recognize natural speak, and to be able to do anything that it posibly can with it's abilities, if I ask him for it.

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Original post by Nice Coder
Chatbot.

Must have.


Why do you say this?

Quote:
Original post by Jiia
Programmable!
Seriously.

I guess it's stretching things, but why not? Just a simple scripting tool would do wonders. You could actually make it automate actions by pressing a record button and doing the set of commands yourself. Type in a timing algorithm and let it go to work. I need one of these IRL.


Unique, but I have to ask: Wouldn't this imply a gameworld where macroing is somehow essential? Given the legions of MMOs out there, do you REALLY want another such world?

And wouldn't it be better for the game to summarize (via UI or gameplay) anything that should be done repeatedly?

Quote:
Original post by Coz
To be able to recognize natural speak, and to be able to do anything that it posibly can with it's abilities, if I ask him for it.


Heh, ok. You fund, I'll build.







Quote:
Original post by fastlane69
- Workers: you virtual servents, or better yet a gang of them, work for you building, doing sales, etc. The higher level, the more servants, the greater works you can accomplish. One servant can make you coffee; ten can build you a home.


Would it be better if it was just one servant that became more powerful? It would be less to keep track of. Or is the implication of an overseer of many more cool?

Quote:

- Avatars: In a world ravaged by nanites, a servant may be the only thing others see of you. Your "physical" body is at home and interacts with other people in your sphere of influence...however if you travel, it's you servant that travels for you and speaks in your stead (depending on AI). You could even go full on Assimov and have no one see your physical body and your servant IS you; this would be considered consistent in a world overtaken by tech...no sense wasting the flesh!


Awesome. This implies body swapping and posthuman existence, which in and of itself could lead to some cool gameplay. It might also lead to some trouble if you're trying to track or assassinate someone.

What about making the servant the ultimate deciding factor in the sucess of things like this? Abstractly, your servant could act as decoy, or electronic double, with some stats determining how convincing they are. (Weird thought: It would be like having an electronic Alfred covering up all those mysterious disappearances of Bruce Wayne...)

Quote:

- Familiar: for the leechers, a digital servant is a handy source to leech when you are low. for the engineers, a digital servant is a handy source of labor and spare parts.


You know, I realize I was mostly considering the servant to be electronic. However, having a physical form could make him like an NPC that you port around and then cannibalize. :)

Quote:

- Offline assistant: in an online game, your digital pal could be the only thing that interacts with the world when you are offline (ie asleep). It will take your calls and defend you castle autonomously if necessary


Nice, this fits in naturally with the whole fiction.

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Original post by Wavinator

Would it be better if it was just one servant that became more powerful? It would be less to keep track of. Or is the implication of an overseer of many more cool?


Shrug. Depends on tech limitations set out in your Design doc I suppose and game design. But my opinion is that if you have one servant that becomes more powerful, then all you have is a fancy pet ala EQ. More original would be to have a legion of NPCs at your command...not for combat (for that would kill performance real quick) but for less real-time tasks like construction.

Quote:

Awesome. This implies body swapping and posthuman existence, which in and of itself could lead to some cool gameplay. It might also lead to some trouble if you're trying to track or assassinate someone.

What about making the servant the ultimate deciding factor in the sucess of things like this? Abstractly, your servant could act as decoy, or electronic double, with some stats determining how convincing they are. (Weird thought: It would be like having an electronic Alfred covering up all those mysterious disappearances of Bruce Wayne...)


Ever play a game for the c64 called "paradroid"? In it, you start as a lowly 001 robot. YOu can fire lasers at robots to destroy, but more fun and to the point, once you bumped into them, you were brought to a mini-game in which you try to wrestle control of the OTHER robot. If you win, the 001 robot is destroyed and you know control the more powerful robot. If you lose, the 001 is damaged or outright destroyed. I only ever beat the game once, but the mini-game and gaining control of all the diff robots was ALOT of fun (and still is considering that game is part of those retro joystick game packs you find at walmart now a days. :) )

A similar concept could be really fun in the nano context.

But more to your point, if the servant is your physical extension, then it would be the major factor in the battle...you as the controller may be able to "buff" it or "boost" it, but ultimetely your servant is on it's own.

PS: Not that it matters one way or the other, but all these idea posts you have: are they part of a concentrated effort to enact them as gameplay or merely using the forum as a sounding board for ideas out of curiosity?)

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Original post by fastlane69
More original would be to have a legion of NPCs at your command...not for combat (for that would kill performance real quick) but for less real-time tasks like construction.


I like the premise, but from a practical standpoint, how much of it do you need to see realized? If the game tells you that an army of NPCs is building a small city for you, how should this be realized to give you the right feel? Is it enough to be able to walk around, see various NPCs, and know that they're yours?

What I mean is, how much interactivity do you need?


Quote:

Ever play a game for the c64 called "paradroid"?


Haven't, but this sounds cool! Hacking bots with consequences, shown as a minigame, could be fun (depends on how the minigame works, of course)

Quote:

But more to your point, if the servant is your physical extension, then it would be the major factor in the battle...you as the controller may be able to "buff" it or "boost" it, but ultimetely your servant is on it's own.


Would there be any real difference between this and leveling a friendly NPC? Because if you have both, they have to be different.

Quote:

PS: Not that it matters one way or the other, but all these idea posts you have: are they part of a concentrated effort to enact them as gameplay or merely using the forum as a sounding board for ideas out of curiosity?)


I'm working on unifying a game about surviving and thriving in a fantastic future. Because that's waaaay to broad to do in detail, the virtual servant, mixed with normal open-ended adventuring, may be a way of using the kind of satisfying abstraction empire games get away with. In empire games, lots of stuff happens, and you neither expect nor care to see it-- you just want to be responsible for causing or countering it.

So yeah, not all of these ideas will be used, but they point me step by step toward a meta that I hope the game will ultimately become.

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What I mean is, how much interactivity do you need?


I guess it depends on the genre. If you are making an RTS, then you wouldn't need much at all...set your army of servants to do their task and tell you when it's done...not much fun value added by having to micromanage and RTS players are already well used to managing a large work/combat force. If you are making an RPG on the other hand, I would argue that you would want to make it a little more micro, but with less servants. This is so things can happen during construction that you will have to respond to personally, such as specific material missing ("Master, I really need a type-10 flux capacitor if you wish me to complete this thing") or you come under attack ("Master, I can't complete this house if people are constantly shooting at me"). If you are making an FPS, then you could have something in between: a legion of robots set upon their task, but an enemy that is hell bent on picking off your servants one by one. Matter of fact, this could be a brand new type of gameplay like I've never seen (though I'm not a big FPS fan): the game is who builds their base first. You set your troops to build the base and so does your opponent. You set out to hinder your opponents building by attacking servants and vice versa. At the same time you (and your opponent) have to protect their assets. This could work on the physical plane (ala unreal) or on the digital plane (ala Gibson Cyberspace Hackers)

Quote:

Would there be any real difference between this and leveling a friendly NPC? Because if you have both, they have to be different.


No, I guess not really. Maybe it's better the other way around, that your servant is resonable for buffing you...say ala Transformers where multiple robots combine to form a bigger one.
You could be walking down the street with your two servants and when a Leech appears, the servants "transform" into your (intelligent) suit of armor (ever hear armor say "ouch!!"? ) and your (intelligent) gun (ever had your weapon second guess your attack? Could be fun...to watch. hehehe)

Quote:

I'm working on unifying a game about surviving and thriving in a fantastic future


I caught that from your other threads, but couldn't find a unifing thread... I see now that's because there IS none. :)

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Personally, I kind of like the idea of having an "army" of robots... but I supose they would have to be dumbed down to work in a game.

Perhaps there were once highly sophisticated robots that were able to self-replicate, could work together seamlessly, upgraded through experience and constantly improved the efficiency of their actions... but after legal disputes with the local labor unions the robots had to be lobotomised and turned into mindless drones.


Now these "mindless drone-bots" are still pretty smart, but they lack the capacity to build anything new unless somebody constantly supervises over them and tells them what to do. If you want a robot to BUILD another robot, you have to stand watch over their shoulder and tell them exactly how to construct one. But if you tell them to REPAIR a robot, they can do it easily.

So robots are pretty much limited to maintenence projects. While humans are the ones who build and improve things.
====

Now, it was only a short time after this that intersteller travel really became acessable to humans on a large scale. Many entrepenures known as Star Men (sort of like the Mountain Men of the American Frontier) landed on planets and set up large self-sustaining colonies intending to use robots as cheap labor.

However, sinse the robots needed supervision and the Star Men didn't have time to constantly watch over them. They created AI's that would take over the job of commanding the robots.
====


So, I suppose with a setup like this. The robots act as the body while the Servants act as the brains.

So the Servant would record things like the patterns of buildings or objects for the robots to build. But having them build things requires that the Servant use up memeory and time to tell them how to build it.

The Servant can assign a simple task to a robot like "guard this area" or "make breakfast every morning" but needs to use up resources to change their orders.

Upgrades let the servant command more robots or give them more complex commands.

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