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3D Scriptwriting, a design of the future

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This idea's based on an extrapolation of the Visual Pinball Construction Kit. I think something like this may become much more generic, and might become a tool of the future. Here's a brainstorm I had about it... Imagine it's 10 years from now. 110 Gigahertz computers are common (Moore's law), DSL and Cable are in 90% of all homes, and Microsoft is still fighting the US Government over monopoly issues. Games have become ultrapopular, and are 3D experiences that not only cover the genres that we know and love, but tons yet to be invented: romantic comedic strategy (you're matchmaking for bots); reverse action horror (you're scaring your friends); crime-solver simulations (multiplayer whodunnit); etc. The driving force behind this renaissance is a virtual army of indie developers backed by open source tools, sound, and gfx. Their most important tool is an app called 3D Scriptwriter. The tool is SO POPULAR that writers and non-technical folks can use it, and as such a wave of creativity has been unleashed. My Question: How does this thing work? I see it working like a slick, easy to use 3D model viewer and org chart maker. One window has a tree, called the Resource Tree. All of the models, art, and sound are organized by level / scene under this tree. To move or change things, all a game writer has to do is drag and drop from one level / scene to another. Another window has a 3D branching tree, called a GameScript. The GameScript basically let's you organize and control the flow of levels / scenes, and the action within them. The game writer can choose to imbed trees in a scene, and thus control the possible branches within that scene, or imbed trees in objects, which allows them to specify the behavior of characters or props in greater detail. Simply put, props and characters can be given default behaviors, (a personality screen for characters; a properties screen for props), but the scene tree can always override these. The main window shows in 3D the level / scene, and can render and manipulate it in real time. The user can run each branch of the Gamescript and test out gameplay on the fly. Most importantly, game writers can create a game, from start to finish, by using the GameScript language, which closely parallels movie scripts in terms of keywords and structure. They create: *A dramatis personae that lets them cook up characters *A prop list that lets them bind behavior and properties to 3D meshes (by saying things like, "A red teacup," for example) *A level/scene-list *The actual branching Gamescript, which allows them to say, for example, King Leoric (to Player): "Bring me the head of Diablo!" Player (Scratches chin): "No", "Yes", "Why?", "Go to Hell and get him yourself!", "What will you give me?" King Leoric (to Player, "No" branch): "...." etc. ...? thoughts? btw, this is what I do when I can't figure out how to blend an RPG with an empire game, folks... -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership... Edited by - Wavinator on June 7, 2001 11:41:37 PM

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Well, this is almost what we will have, and naturally it will bear signatures of my rantings and ravings. In fact, it will embody all that I have discussed on these boards.

A key element of its power is its default model. Rather than requiring the user to build an environment from scratch, it will instantiate a semi fleshed out environment from the start, where the user may mold and embellish, or subtract from to create what the user wants.

A typical session may go like this:

User: I need a neighborhood setting.
Program: *Creates a ''Leave it to Beaver'' neighborhood.*
User: No, not quite like that, more like upstate Maine, hills and trees, and the houses are more spreadout.
Program: *The neihborhood changes...*
User: That''s good... umm... there''s an abandoned house up that narrow street, kind of spooky, yeah, just like that...
Program: *The details start to flesh out*
User: Ok, now, I want some really eccentric types here in this part of the neighborhood...



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quote:
Original post by bishop_pass

A key element of its power is its default model. Rather than requiring the user to build an environment from scratch, it will instantiate a semi fleshed out environment from the start, where the user may mold and embellish, or subtract from to create what the user wants.




Yes! I was going to say this, almost modeled after how characters in Star Trek specify things in their holodeck. "Chair, center of the room." etc. This, I believe, is where the stuff you've talked about wrt reasoning can be well applied.

I think this will extend to the 3D props and characters. I can see a huge open source movement like the mod community that comes together to create 3D props and 3D characters with interesting animations and behaviors, that game writers can stick into their games. And it will greatly alleviate the burden on non-technical people; and technical people will just be able to have more customized stuff.

I can see GameDev.net posts 10 years from now: "Anyone know where I can get a cool attack doberman? I need it for the artic chase scene in my spy game..."







--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

Edited by - Wavinator on June 7, 2001 12:58:39 AM

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Before all this indie uprising happened, wouldn''t a publishing company that sought out and supported the cut-above indie developers be required?

i''m not talking about those silly little indie game contests we have, or the small upstart companies that are selling their engine for a few bucks, but a full-fledged, rich, prosperious company with a already solid reputation that more resembles Artisan than USC''s film school.

And wouldn''t a company like that most likely be started as a small venture of a larger company (EA or Sierra or someone) and wouldn''t that company need to first, before sinking millions of dollars into a potentially very risky business, be reassured that a profit was to be made?

And wouldn''t that require the ability for some ultra-creative indie guy to sit at home and make a game that was worth people paying money for? And wouldn''t that game have to focus on design elements other than amazing graphics simply because a single guy, producing a very low budget game, either does not have enough time to produce a quality game and still keep up with the rate "state-of-the-art" graphics change these days or the guy could actually make incredible graphics in a short amount of time, but he''d be such a technical genius that he wouldn''t have any creativity and would probably rather live out his life solving math equations and breaking codes for the NSA rather than creating a quality low-budget game that could produce a profit?

And wouldn''t the industry, before it''s ready to support such products that focus on story and message rather than graphics, have to mature a hell of alot?

And wouldn''t a whole consumer group of 10 to 50 year old boys who still play with toys (video games) waaaaaaay too many hours out of the day be very reluctant to mature?

So aren''t we destined, when we go into Best Buy, etc., to pick up the game that looks the brightist and shinyist, the charactistics of games only accomplished by a huge publisher of games that wouldn''t give little indie projects the time of day?


So aren''t we all, essentially, screwed?

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quote:
Original post by fosborb

So aren''t we all, essentially, screwed?


I''m sorry, that''s my line. My lawyers will be contacting you...

Much you say is true, but I''m heartened by those crazy geeks who are even now creating 3D engines and giving them away for free or nearly free.

And I''ve got my fingers in a veritable knot in hopes that Bestbuy will go to hell once Cable/Dsl becomes widespread. Sure, there will be the main portals of the publishers, and a lot of quality work will come from folks who are being paid to make it...

But Linux as a possible model gives me hope.

As for the boy-nature of games? I think this is a problem with general lack of maturity of the medium. The much hated Myst and Riven are examples of mainstream, non-fanboy gaming. But games have to come waaaay down in price and make inroads before they get anywhere near widespread. (IMHO, of course )

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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So what distinct areas would need to be covered by such a program?

1. The type of game, how would one make different "gameplay" genres in such a system?

?

Maybe, you could just do it by altering different properties of the pre-defined elements that you have.

Ie. The things in the game have properties, manipulating these properties would allow for vastly different experiences.

First - Person Shooter Genre

Damage System player type [choices]

Location Based [slow down? bleeding? etc]
Generic Hitpoints [1= instant death > ?]

Enemy AI
very alert - sitting duck.

Enemy damage for different weapons..

Etc.
-------

So you could make a "realistic" first-person shooter or a Quake-like game, just by changing enough variables.

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Something vaguely similar to this kind of concept exists, in the world of Adventure games /"interactive fiction" there are about two main 'standards' for design. Inform and TADS, they offer a sophisticated parser system (for understanding the text based commands that are entered by the player), they also provide a methods for defining objects, actions etc. And they can be added to with some programming savvy. (You need to be competant at programming to use the languages).

That said they don't provide "scripting" in the sense of predefining key scenes. Or scenery creation.

The following is a good link to some good 'games' made with these systems.

http://www.igs.net/~tril/if/best/index.html



Edited by - Ketchaval on July 9, 2001 8:23:47 PM

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