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Kest

Game within a game... 200% Abstraction?

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I'm planning to add a simulated environment to my futuristic RPG. The invironment would work much like the internet. Like the internet, it would have started out in the military as a training simulation. The training simulations would then be linked together for communication / interaction between troops / officials in different sectors (which could be miles apart), and ease of switching between training programs. Fast forward a bit, and you have large corperations using this same environment to maintain and manipulate electrical hardware, and to manage all of their business assets. Fast forward some more, and here come the hackers. Sound familiar? In these simulations, you could boot up a certain program, train yourself at martial arts, open a magical door, walk into a shooting range, then walk through a hallway and onto an impossible sky diving platform. Basically, I can let gameplay fly out of the box, without any concern whatsoever about attachments to reality. No dumping ideas off just because it would take too much time to work out everything in-between the lines. I can literally skip over those lines and just throw the player into the driver seats. Do you like playing small games within large scale games, or do you normally just skip over them? Would you enjoy interacting and playing games in this type of environment? Would it help if the simulated environment is tied to the real game world? For example, would challenging an NPC (AI) character to a 1-on-1 game of Giant City Mech Battle Arena make playing that game seem more interesting? How is this gameplay fun any different than literally getting into a giant mech and having the battle in the real game world? Would certain elements bring it closer to being the same fun? Also, any other ideas for what I could do with/in this simulated environment are very much appreciated.

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In theory, yes. In practice, such mini-games often tend to jar with the game setting, regardless of how well you integrate it into the storyline. What you need in these mini-games is consistancy and purpose. Consistancy of quality, rules, outcomes, etc, and purpose as in "why the hell am I doing this?" and "what will happen as a result of this?".

Good example:

Company uses this virutal reality to store sensitive information using AI agents that can recognise the person requesting the information via the implants they use to connect to the VR. So, you must somehow obtain a copy of the implants of someone high up in the organization. You could either kill them (but you would then have to login to the VR before the dead body was discovered and access through those implants blocked), somehow scan their implants and make a copy (say by drugging them so they become unconcious) and so on.

You then modify your own implants to match the signature and log in. The AI thinks you are that person and gives you access to all the info you need. More information is available to you depending on how high up an officer the copied implants came from.

Bad example:

A mini game of Tetris dressed up as "hacking" where when you erase 20 rows you get access to the data.

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so you want to simulate infinite possibilities? That's one hell of a programming challenge.

as for games within games, I remember I used to love the fairgrounds stage in legend of the mystical ninja

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Quote:
Original post by Funkymunky
so you want to simulate infinite possibilities? That's one hell of a programming challenge.

It's exactly the opposite. Within the games environments, there will be no expectations of what things should look like or how they should behave. If it suits the specific situation, a difficult development task can be completely avoided. Someone in the game world wrote that game program, so it's limited and flawed.

Nothing that happens in an environment can have an effect on any other environments that use different rules. They would behave like entirely seperate programs. The characters would have to jump between them.

The shared simulation program used by all of the large corporations for the business part of it would all use the same environment, and would have the same rules. So they will all be linked together. A sort of global connection, where you can travel anywhere from anywhere else, as long as you can gain access (or tinker your way through). While in this area, the rules won't twist around. They're pretty concrete. And that means these areas can share events. You could effect the online simulation used by one company while messing around in another.

But some simulations, like the mini-games, would use entirely different rules, and would need some type of transfer. A transfer would be like walking through a door. In reality, a transfer would be needed anytime the avatar changes. His 'cyber body persona' wouldn't just morph into a giant mech for the mech game. He would walk through a network passageway, phase out of that environment, then phase into another as a giant mech, ready for combat.

It could all be very controlled design-wise. And programmer/artist-wise, as far as the seperated-rules simulations, there's no expectations. The simulations can be as polished as or as neglected as you want. If they suck, the player can just shrug and boot up a different one. Or just avoid them completely.

Quote:
Original post by MENTAL
In theory, yes. In practice, such mini-games often tend to jar with the game setting, regardless of how well you integrate it into the storyline. What you need in these mini-games is consistancy and purpose. Consistancy of quality, rules, outcomes, etc, and purpose as in "why the hell am I doing this?" and "what will happen as a result of this?".

That's pretty much everything that the simulation games wouldn't have. They wouldn't be at all integrated into the storyline. The part of the network system that's used for serious reasons would be heavy in purpose, and be bound by many rules. But the rules used on those servers would not spread over to simulated games. The video games within that environment would be pretty much the opposite. They would be completely optional, and could be completely avoided while playing. Each one would be designed for it's exact usefuless; to goof off and have fun. In some situations, they could still have small effects on the real game world (such as training at certain skills), but they would be made mostly for the fun and interestingness.

Some of my reasons for including such simulation games are completely selfish reasons. I get to try all of the really cool things that my game engine is capable of doing without them having to fit into the game itself. Spaceship explorer? Underwater treasure hunter? Blob trampoline laser battle? Some players may end up getting more addicted to the mini-games than the one that I spent so long working on. I personally have an appeal to small loopable games that are hard to master. But most players don't experience those in any kind of depth anymore, because developers can't make money with them.

Quote:
Company uses this virutal reality to store sensitive information using AI agents that can recognise the person requesting the information via the implants they use to connect to the VR. So, you must somehow obtain a copy of the implants of someone high up in the organization. You could either kill them (but you would then have to login to the VR before the dead body was discovered and access through those implants blocked), somehow scan their implants and make a copy (say by drugging them so they become unconcious) and so on.

You then modify your own implants to match the signature and log in. The AI thinks you are that person and gives you access to all the info you need. More information is available to you depending on how high up an officer the copied implants came from.

Those are some cool ideas. I still need to do a lot of brainstorming to figure out how the serious side of the network will work. But I like the idea behind jack-in signatures. Something like that would add the possibility of jacking into a system while completely posing as someone else. You could literally stand around a table of corporation officials as they discuss security details, and they would assume you are who your system persona looks like.

Quote:

Bad example:

A mini game of Tetris dressed up as "hacking" where when you erase 20 rows you get access to the data.

Ahh. I must have mixed together my details too much in the original post. The serious part of the system probably wouldn't consist of mini-games. That part of design has been a likely plan from the beginning. I was originally inspired for this by the Shadowrun console games where you could hack into systems to shut down cameras and steal sensitive data to sell.

This post was just related to mixing in the video game simulations as part of that system. Sort of like a Matrix theme park. Where the avatar and his in-game buddies can goof off, challenge each other, and have totally out-of-real-game experiences. Many of the simulated games will probably effect skills if it makes sense. If the player and his team play racing games, their reaction skills may slowly increase. If the player spends all day beating the crap out of the new rookies on his team in a boxing tournament simulation, they might learn new melee combat moves. Why not reward the player for having fun? That's what my overall game is made to do.

As far as the serious part of the system, it could literally work like the real (game) world. Where special keys can open doors and cyber-combat against AI drones gains you access. But I haven't worked much of it out yet. I'm definitely not sure about the specific details yet. Just a little random brainstorming.

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