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Dream Room

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Okay, so I've posted here before, just under a different log-in and I felt it was time for something new because that was one I had used since I was 12 I think. Anyhow, I've got this concept for a game that I wrote up today. I had the idea about 6 months ago, but it really wasn't too clear in my head until last night. I wrote stuff down today.. and here it is. Just notice this is a very rough concept and I'm not too terribly worried about plausibility factors, so please don't just reply with "it can't be done" or any derivative of such unless you have something constructive to say about the concept as well. Thanks. DREAM ROOM a prototype for a game about dreams and how they are influenced. A room full of books, gadgets, videos, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, paintings, drinks and etc. Have fun and look through the room, because the more time you spend with a certain object, the more likely it is to influence your dreams. A character begins in a room crowded with objects that they can interact with in many different ways; with varying degrees of depth. You can scan the book shelf. Scrolling over the spine reveals the title and author, clicking allows you to read the covers and you can read the entire book or just a bit, and varying things that might stick out and provoke thought. The further you scroll, the greater chance you have of dreaming of it. Certain key words, once seen, can influence. It’s all done at random, but like a drawing where contestants can enter multiple times. The computer is the guy with the hat, the objects are the contestants. They’ve bestowed upon you the task of choosing how many times they will be entered. The more you interact with an object, the greater chance it has of being seen in your dream. The longer you interact influences it. How you interact can even have certain effects. Now, we’re talking about a computer game. The player will not have all of the options they do in real life, but they’ll be given enough options to feel like they’re actually doing something to influence things. There’s the passive Glance that influences to a very small extent, but just barely glancing at a magnifying glass could toss you into a dream about a private eye if it’s so decided by the computer. Other active options like Examine, Open, Read, Pick-up, Use (could be any assortment of actions). Objects like CDs and DVDs can be placed inside their respective players and played while the character goes about the rest of their rummaging. Algorithms are the driving force in the code of this game. Indeed, the driving force will be code. All the random factors would be impossible otherwise. I'm working on a lot of the different algorithms right now (not the coding part. the cognitive stuff) so yeah. But there'll be a lot of them. For a lot of different things too. The audio, the physics, the graphics, objectives, etc.. will all have to be algorithmic for this project to be a success. As for objectives, for the prototype I was thinking about having the player character be a test subject being monitored by scientists with a special machine that allows them to see you interacting in your dream. You might be attempting to figure out your past or attempting to influence a certain kind of dream. Not too sure yet. Anyhow, any critique or constructive criticism is appreciated! Thank you in advance.

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interesting idea... but I'm not sure how much of a playable game it would make. Not to mention the gross inefficiency of time/play ratio. A lot of games are worked on for 2 years and have 30+ hours of gameplay. This may very well be worked on for 6 years and have at maximum 10 hours before the world starts getting very repeditive and predictable.

The problem with algorithems is, they do exactly what you tell them to over and over and over agin, flawlessly repeating. That makes for great relyability in your game, but it will become very predictable very fast.

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This is the only log-in I'm currently using. I haven't even been on the other one in about a year.
As for repetitiveness, I don't think I'm conveying the idea properly to you.
The algorithms will make it to where almost anything is achievable within the game's rules. Look at Spore, for example. The creatures you model are set-up entirely using algorithms. This is so the creature can look like ANYTHING you can create, but still function how it would (or how current physics say it would) if it were here on earth. Also, it allows the creation of new actions. The creatures in Spore have the ability to move. They also have the ability to bite (depending on species). When you tell the creature to bite on a dead animal you can also tell it to move, creating the new command Drag.
When all of the different algorithms are placed together in Dream Room, the actions that are taken by the player, mixed with all of the random factors and possibilities that are programmed into it, will create an almost endless array of options.
While replay value will have to do with how well objectives and goals are coded in, the algorithms are (at least in the way that I'm currently viewing it) in no way going to be a hindrance. The only way it's going to be a pain is implementation and the actual process of fleshing all of them out.
Honestly, I may be very wrong, but it works out in my head. Obviously, a good designer needs to be able to communicate his ideas more effectively, but I'm trying. Hopefully I can think of something. Maybe an example of how it might work? I think I'll get to work on that after I get out of my math class.

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I see where you're coming from. Remember that if you are just starting to design, you quickly learn that things rarley turn out how you want them to.

As for algorithmes making anything possible, I think you may be using that word slightly out of context. Algorithems will make the behavior the same for every creature and they will just have a different appearance. It's really just like Ford taking the insides of one of their cars, never redesigning it, and just slapping a hundered different body's on it.

I saw spore for the first time and it was what I expected. The players aren't actually "making" their own creatures. It's really just the same interior with a different exterior and slight behavior modifications depending on what parts the creature is made out of. Yes, there are thousands of "different" creatures you can make in the game, but there are no extreme differnces between them. If there are, they are highly generalized and estimated.

Given the fact that making thousands of different creature personalities in hard code would take several decades, yes, algorithems are the way to go. But again, algorithems can only do one thing a million times with no change. The only way to make the creature change the behavior is to mix certain algorithems together, and there will not be a huge amount of them, as you will quickly find out when you try to code all of them. Even just 10 would be a very formitable challenge for any programmer.

Don't get me wrong, while a "dream style" game doesn't really appeal to my tastes, I have always been interested in a game where "you make the world". Games like this already exist, but they are often very dull. The developers will try to trick you into thinking you're going through many different worlds and encountering many different characters, but most anyone can see right through the tricks and become very bored very fast.

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EXAMPLE:

Let's say the character wakes up. While waking up, many things are in your field of vision. Anything that crosses your field of vision is given a Glance. This counts as influence, but only a small amount.
Anyhow, the player goes and picks up a book from the shelf. Turns out it's The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. The player sees the TITLE and AUTHOR on the spine, then decides to glance at the front and back covers. The front cover once again shows the TITLE and AUTHOR and some VISUALS. The back offers some insight into what the book is about. Here, the player picks up several KEYWORDS and maybe even NAMES. Good for the player. He now decides to skim over the first few pages, scrolling through some text that also contains KEYWORDS (only known to the computer) and NAMES of characters, places, etc. The player puts the book down and goes to bed for the dream sequence to begin.
The computer takes everything the player has seen, heard, read, etc., and puts it into the pot. The TITLE, AUTHOR, KEYWORDS, VISUALS, NAMES, and all of that are all thrown in. Now the computer looks over these and randomly places the data into different slots where it can be used. The more time/effort that is placed into these stimuli, the more likely they are to be chosen. In essence, they've got a little more weight to them.
Now that everything has been sorted, randomly put into "slots" (of which there are many upon many), the dream begins. Anything could happen. Since the character read the first few pages of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, it could possibly be interpreted literally and they could end up in the back of the truck with the tripped-out hippies dressed as Native Americans on their way to pick up Ken Kesey from prison.
It may, on the other hand, just take pieces of information. The character may find himself at Tom Wolfe's home, there to meet him and gain information on a certain event.
Tom Wolfe may only be mentioned.
On another hand still, nothing about Tom Wolfe, Kesey, hippies, Native Americans, trucks, drugs, or even that era may come into the dream in any large part or any part at all. The character might dream about something that they had Glanced at at some point during their time awake.
And these pieces of data can all come up in very small or random ways. Just like a dream, almost anything could happen. Physics might just stand on its head.
This is how I plan to use algorithms. All of the data would have to pass through so many different algorithms and with all of those pieces of data and all of those different places to be, almost anything could pop about.
Yes, it will be extremely complicated, but at the moment I'm just looking into the theory of it. Any ideas?

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Quote:
Original post by TheKrust
Don't get me wrong, while a "dream style" game doesn't really appeal to my tastes, I have always been interested in a game where "you make the world". Games like this already exist, but they are often very dull. The developers will try to trick you into thinking you're going through many different worlds and encountering many different characters, but most anyone can see right through the tricks and become very bored very fast.


I see what you're saying in that respect, and I too, am very tired of games that tell you something along the lines of "the entire world is destructible" and then you jump in and it's never what you were led to believe.
But I really believe it's possible to do what I'm suggesting. I've coded several projects over the last few years and, while none of them were anywhere near as formidable as this, I believe it's absolutely possible with todays programming technology. Computer technology, on the other hand, may need to progress a bit before it could be used by most people, but I may be wrong.

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interesting concept.

you seem to be a bit fuzzy as to the player's goal, and more focused on the mechanics... well after reading this i remembered a book i read back in the day called "the lathe of heaven" by Ursula LeGuin.

in the book, there is this guy who has dreams that alter reality, which gives him a terrible fear of sleeping. his shrink thinks this is great and tries to make him dream specific things for the benefit of both himself and humanity. but since he has little control over the dreams, he usually only vaguely dreams what the doctor orders, often taking something he said literally, or coming up with something in a completely lateral-thinking way (i.e. when persuaded to dream up a solution to racial bigotry, he causes reality to change so that everyone in the world turns grey and shares the same clothing, culture, etc).

perhaps something like that could be a goal for your player. give the character the ability to alter reality through his "effective" dreams, and the player must try to cause and then play through a dream that solves the goal. of course you would have to allow for various levels of "solution" not just pass/fail, since you have so many influencing factors (i.e. it would suck if the only way to pass is to read enough of one specific book and get lucky that the right keyword appears in the dream state).

or something like that, it was more of a ramble that a cohesive game design idea :)


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I really love that idea! Similar ideas have gone through my mind such as having the character aim to get a certain dream as the final objective, but I really like this.

And yeah, I notice that most times my ideas are based on mechanics rather than objective and storyline. I'm not sure if I should see it as a flaw or what.
I've found that coming up with all of these different ifs, ands, etc.. is pretty tough. Putting them in the proper order is as well, but I think once I've come up with the factors and checks it'll be a lot easier.

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