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Wixner

Extending the online experience across several games?

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I had a really hard time to name this subject but I finally found a subject that reflects the contents. If the subjects sounds like an MD5-hash to you, just keep on reading. So what do I want to tell you? The answer is pretty simple: What if we decided to integrate several games into one persistent game world? First of all; you could have one "game client" that allows players to modify the gigantic game world. We could allow players to create new landmass in form of continents and islands. As new landmass is created, we could allow another "game client" to take advantage of this newly created landmass and create their own villages and territories, creating roads and harbors, like a simplified Sim-City game. When the village is marked "complete" it is opened to the third "game client" which allows players to inhabit the village in a Sims-like way; buy a house, get a job, commence trading with your friends in a another town, on another continent or to buy material and expand your house etc. Soon enough, we will have several villages, towns and even cities and we might actually be able to build countries and set up religious themes over the world and thus have a perfect world to develop our roleplaying game, whether it is an Massive Multiplaying version or a simple "offline" adventurous roleplaying game where you interact with the world without actually knowing it This is not a concrete design, this is just my concept of how future network gaming might affect us all, even if we love to build cities or just want to venture down into caves (created by other players) to slay the evil spider that has poisoned the nearby city (also created by another player)

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The only major problem I see with this in the way you stated it is this. If it takes 1 player to create a world, maybe 100 to make the territories and cities, and then 100 per city, then basically for each "world builder", you would need 10,000 city-dwellers. Also, while the second two are more sustaining, the top level seems like it would be fun for a couple hours and then be pointless (unless there would be another role not mentioned in your post). While having a single world spanning multiple types of games is an interesting idea, it seems that more design would be required to better balance the division in terms of time continuity and better number balancing between the games (ie more like 2:1 or 1:1 not 10,000:1). If each game could by itself be entertaining, then the whole could work, otherwise it seems likely the world would fall apart due to disiniterest.

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This idea...kinda exists already. Second Life already has something like this going, and they have a million and one problems as it is. However, the idea of the city building with people living in it doing different things...that still is an idea I can't want to see happen. I was part of a project that was a Harvest Moon Online game that sadly died...but still, the idea of it is pretty good. The biggest thing is giving alot that the players can actually do. Leaving the fun in the hands of the player is asking for the worst (see: Griefers)

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Quote:
Original post by Deleter
The only major problem I see with this in the way you stated it is this. If it takes 1 player to create a world, maybe 100 to make the territories and cities, and then 100 per city, then basically for each "world builder", you would need 10,000 city-dwellers. Also, while the second two are more sustaining, the top level seems like it would be fun for a couple hours and then be pointless (unless there would be another role not mentioned in your post). While having a single world spanning multiple types of games is an interesting idea, it seems that more design would be required to better balance the division in terms of time continuity and better number balancing between the games (ie more like 2:1 or 1:1 not 10,000:1). If each game could by itself be entertaining, then the whole could work, otherwise it seems likely the world would fall apart due to disiniterest.


Yeah, I do get your point, but this is just the matter of a base concept where several types of games interacts with a common work, and I do realize the amount of in-depth design and balancing involved in this kind of project.

However it was not my intentional design to let one player to create the world, but as many as possible - the world should be design into continents, countries, zones and eventual patches, where a single player can edit one patch at a time, using an ownership flag, but this is uninteresting technical details.

And as you mentioned, each game really needs to be interesting and appealing to keep each type of player interested for a longer period to keep the world to constantly evolve.


Quote:
Original post by wpdesign
This idea...kinda exists already. Second Life already has something like this going, and they have a million and one problems as it is. However, the idea of the city building with people living in it doing different things...that still is an idea I can't want to see happen. I was part of a project that was a Harvest Moon Online game that sadly died...but still, the idea of it is pretty good. The biggest thing is giving alot that the players can actually do. Leaving the fun in the hands of the player is asking for the worst (see: Griefers)


I've actually had a reference to an Harvest Moon Online clone in my original post, but deleted it to simplify it and focus on the concept itself. To bad the concept of Harvest Moon Online died.

As you said; the biggest thing is to give the players enough options in game, but something really has to be limited due to resources and time, and the idea that triggered this concept was originally an MMORPG mixed with an RTS and has therefore evolved the idea around those concepts.

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Ever play dungeon keeper? In it you took the role of dungeon master to build a dungeon and fill it with traps and monsters, to protect against hero attacks I could see something like that working in MMO setting. Letting players build their own bases which other player could then raid. Something like that would probably appeal to wide cross sections MMO fans.

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Without going in-depth in the game mechanics of each, these are the game clients that I have designed a concept for.

Sim Landmass
This is the most primitive client where the player(s) can create new or edit existing landmass to the world. The rules of editing existing landmass is nothing I will describe at the current state.

Sim Settlements
This client depends heavily on the Sim Landmass client as it gives the player(s) the opportunity to create a village, town or a major city on any landmass created and available. There are some rules here as well, but nothing worth digging into at the moment.

This is a fairly restricted client where you just have a basic control over your settlement; you may build roads, houses, build ports and adjust taxes et cetera. You may see this as a mixture of Sim City and the old Caesar game.

Sim Life
I think this client will attract most of the casual players as it is a mixture of The Sims and The Settlers to a certain degree: You can buy a house, start a career as a fisherman, forester, hunter, blacksmith, set up shops or anything else that seems suitable for this settlement. You can also commence trading with your friends in the local settlement or export your goods to a friend to another settlement on an island in the northern seas.

The games, as a connected community, relies heavily on this client as it is the backbone of the tradegoods and economy of the game clients.

Online Roleplaying Game
This client works just as any (MM)ORPG game out there; except that you are very dependent on the other clients as they are the ones that manages the settlements you can interact with and the landmass you can visit.

Online Realtime Strategy Game
Ever wonder who built that camp of goblins that has besieged the little village to the east? That is the work of a player that plays this client. He will have the opportunity to build an army of certain encounters depending on his skill and the level of his warlord... This client is a very complex one and requires a lot of design, but the main concept is that the player(s) who decide to play this client, is/are the one(s) that pose(s) a threat to the world peace.

I almost forgot one of the clients that triggers the scripted events in the games, the Puzzle Games

Even though the entire world is managed by player(s) - under supervision of the game masters - the world can seem a bit dull and idle. To achieve some kind of randomness to the events in the game I've decided to design an system that contains hurricanes, volcano eruptions, pirate raids, seasonal changes, alien invasions or other destructive, constructive or just pointless events.

There is a slight possibility that some of these events are triggered when a player solves one of the certain puzzle games that is connected to this world. These games should vary in difficulty as the level of the puzzle reflects the affection in the world.

These puzzle games could be simple ones as Memory, Othello, Bejeweled (Trademark, Copyright etc), Sudoku or just mathematical problems and riddles.

We need some serious design and balancing here as well because we can't have the end of the world just because a couple of easy-graded Memory puzzles were solved at saturday evening.

[Edited by - Wixner on March 7, 2007 7:49:13 AM]

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Sim Landmass-
Um, if this came out as single game, it would crack me up. Its like, sim ocean currents. These things by themselves would not work very good as games since they are fairly uninteresting. I really like your other ideas, but I'm having trouble seeing this top level as interesting in any way. Planet creator could be fun, but it would be like a planet per session, and that would be a lot of planets =p. Maybe I'm just not seeing it as you are. Perhaps a more intricate description of what this would entail would help.

In any case, I'm not sure what the advantages of having multiple levels of games based around a persistent world really offers. It seems like it would require a helluva lota balancing and wouldn't necessarily be any more fun than any of these games released independently, even done right.

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Quote:
Original post by Deleter
Sim Landmass-
Um, if this came out as single game, it would crack me up. Its like, sim ocean currents. These things by themselves would not work very good as games since they are fairly uninteresting. I really like your other ideas, but I'm having trouble seeing this top level as interesting in any way. Planet creator could be fun, but it would be like a planet per session, and that would be a lot of planets =p. Maybe I'm just not seeing it as you are. Perhaps a more intricate description of what this would entail would help.

In any case, I'm not sure what the advantages of having multiple levels of games based around a persistent world really offers. It seems like it would require a helluva lota balancing and wouldn't necessarily be any more fun than any of these games released independently, even done right.


Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it :)

I was a little bit too sparse on the details on this client but I want the player(s) to create not only the landmass, but any geographical data as mountains, forests, marshes, valleys, cavecomplexes, old ruins and geographical properties like wind, rain, humidity and heat.

I can not say if there are any advantages base these clients around the common world, but my vision is simply that I want 'more' players to - indirectly in this case - play with and against each other, and the fact that some players are constantly updating the world might actually increase the lifespan on all the game clients.

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I see a problem. All those thousands of "Sim Life" people probably dont want to be killed constantly. And then those RTS players probably want to kill stuff and those RPG players want "excitement", say raids and war from a different perspective, which brings us to... more dead people. Then you mentioned natural disasters, where houses can be burnt down or swept away etc and, yes, more people might die.

All this ugly stuff will drive the casual players (if you actually get them to play in the first place) away, killing the backbone of your game. If you protect the peaceful players from the others, what's the point of integrating the games at all ?

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Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it :)


Glad to give it ;). I agree with the poster above me that pk'ing could end up rampant in your game and this could create a problem. This is really an extension of my earlier question of why you would want multiple genres in one. The funnest part of world creating is extreme change and playing around with things that would kill off everyone. Obviously this couldn't be supported. So then you have to balance the power of the world builders so that they can't destroy the rpgers. This could prove very difficult as the funnest element of this type of game would have to be the most restricted. The rts could be a little easier, as it doesn't inherently need to focus on killing.

Just to shoot some ideas off that I'm having while thinking about it. What if instead of an rpg, its more of an fps (or maybe some fps/rpg hybrid, as players would have to have some persistent stuff), thus the constant dying because of the rts wouldn't phase the players and in fact would be expected. You can still have leveling and items, though to a smaller degree. This could prove highly interesting and entertaining, especially if the world builders are thought of as some type of demigod. Then general (rts players) - demigod alliances could drastically influence the outcome of a battle. This could create some interesting and pretty unique guild/clan battles and wars.

This is a different route than the one you seem to be taking, but perhaps it will stir up some other ideas or maybe parts of it could be integrated somehow into your ideas.

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