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Real GOD game. Or maybe not?

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I got this idea while responding to a Wavinator''s "Info Overload? When?" post. Read the following and answer a simple yes/no question: could it be done, for it to work on a plain 1ghz pc? This is supposed to be a God Game (real GOD game, not just some pathetic tamagochi-micro-city-management B&W). There will be several scales (or zooms, levels, etc) of detail that you could play (not sure of the names yet): Universe (or Cosmos), Solar system, Planetary, Sub Planetary, Bioshpere. The game world is the combination of those levels. All the levels are connected from the topmost to the lowest. Minimal changes in the topmost level could mean ENORMOUS changes in the microlevels. Time passes fast at bigger scales and slower at smaller ones. Each level gives you access to several factors, some controlable (read/write), some not (read only). When modifying the R/W factors, they could affect the RO ones, which in turn affect the game world, or the world itself directly. 1. Cosmic scale: laws of physics (the big blast elements, gravity force, magnetism force), like universe lifetime, star life cycle, widespread elements. 2. Solar system scale: size of the star, age, temperature, number of planets, asteroid density, comets 3. Planetary scale: rotation speed, size, density, distance to the sun parameters, has/hasn''t satellite, which would affect climate, dry land/water balance, polar caps size. 4. On sub planetary have some tectonics, specific climate controls, water cycle, which will affect the formation of continents, relief, life forming. 5. Biosphere scale: mutation factors, evolution factors, which will affect the way life develops. You won''t have ability to "make miracles" like "Food", but what''s that compared to change the laws of physics in the universe. The ultimate goal will be to stimulate the development of an inteligent species. You have to understand, that this is very hard, as intelligent life is rare. Think of the possibilities: crystal lifeforms, beings that exsist in plasma planet cores, gaseus life, all-water worlds and underwater civilisations. You will need 3D engine to visualise this and all the universe/star/planet/lifeform variations. All this ramble above was made up while writing, so it''s a bit chaotic. Throw in some ideas, but above all, answer the question: Do you think it could it be done and would it work on a plain 5-10GHZ PC (I assume that at least 2-3 years are needed for such project)? Thank you for your time. Boby Dimitrov boby@azholding.com

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Sure it would run... It would be easy to program and such, and would eaisly run on my K7 600

Thing is, unlike Black & White (which, btw, I thought was cool). It would not be fun. Can anyone say "Sim Earth"?. Where is the fun in this game? An interactive simulation, no real fun at all. I say a lastability time of about quater of an hour, where the player amuses himself by blowing stuff up and watching things explode, after which there is nothing really to do.

ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS

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- Actually as much as I rag on RPG''s, one variation does sound kinda interesting: a God-game where somebody actually gets to play God, as in B&W, but all the little people are real RPG players. The problem would be hiding the fact that the God-player was in a game with other people: say, for instance, Company X comes out with an online God-game (a single player w/bots) and an online RPG (a multi-player online RPG with a real person somewhere playing the role of the God) at the same time. Without their knowledge, one of the God-game players is selected to be God of the RPG world. The object of the God game would be to get little people to build shrines to you, and the goal of the RPG would be to (collect money to) build shrines to the God.
- I suppose you wouldn''t want one person to play God forever, so you''d need a time limit for each game (say, a number of weeks) and both types of games would have to be scheduled to begin and end at the same time. You''d also have to have some criteria for removing a God-player for poor performance in mid-game if need be, say, killing off so-many-percent of the little people. The God and the little people wouldn''t have any way of communicating in the game, and you''d have to set it up so that the little people all the other God-games would mimic the events in the real one, so that even if all the players of both games communicated outside of the game, it would be difficult to figure out who was the real God. The RPG/God-game would be influencing the bot God-games to a great extent, but it would only make the bots act more realistic. And the two games wouldn''t have to appear the same: for instance, the RPG game would present to the RPG player a typical RPG style while the God-game player would only see generic little people who all look alike, as in B&W. ~ After a game was over, they could reveal who played the actual God for that game. - (?) - Lubb

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I just wanted to clarify, that the game I’m talking of is more of a simulation , than RPG-style, B&W-style, etc. B&W was not really a god game. It featured micro management of a tribe or two and a tamagochi-style Creature.

Andrew Russell, you are right, it is some kind of interactive simulation, but the players won’t spend time “blowing stuff up and watching things explode”, because they won’t have the means to do that.

This is not a village management, guys. The most detailed view/interaction level I was talking about is Biosphere. That means that you could control the Evolution process, not give food and throw stones as some countryside God would do. You have control over the physical laws in the universe, who’s gonna need a monkey to walk around, make funny noises and poop everywhere? If you really need this, then go to circus. You could control the way evolution goes and watch the results: will intelligent life develop, will it be crystal- or gas- or protein- based, will it have civilization, will it discover space flight, etc. They would probably not even know you’re out there. Of course, they could have religion, but let them make up and believe in their local small time Gods, like in B&W. In such game you play more of a Creator than a God. Gods are the ones that come and go, the ones with the local powers, depending on their disciples. They appear in a medium that you created as a Creator.

And I’m not so sure it’ll play nice on a K7 600. Above I described 5 game scales, each one of them much more complicated than B&W, and we need those 5 levels to interact constantly with each other.

Now as much as I like the Lubb’s idea, it’s a separate discussion. I recommend you to start a new topic, giving some more details. And have in mind, that if you have a God for the RPG world, it would actually be fun to have many Gods fight for dominance. Like every disciple player (the RPG world player) would have some Belief point and those will give his God strength (B&W similarity). So one God (a God player) could give one of his disciples (a disciple player, say Assassin) a quest to kill an opponent God’s (another God player) high priest (a disciple player, say Cleric). Many other interesting variations could be made, just start a topic.

One of the real difficulties in the game development process is selecting what kind of controls and information are available to the player. Presenting too much will lead to confusion (see Wavinator''s "Info Overload? When?" post), but if they’re not enough the simulation would look “flat”, not realistic enough.

It would be nice to hear some opinions if such project could be completed and what it would take.



Boby Dimitrov
boby@azholding.com

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Andrew had an important comment that you missed:

"Sim Earth". This was an actual game in the Sim-series, and it sucked. It was probably the biggest flop of the entire series. There was absolutely NO enjoyment about it, it was boring, slow, had little variation, and it made you feel as if you had no real influence on what was going on.

The type of application you''re trying to design and build is not a very interesting thing to spend a lot of time with.

People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Mad Keith the V.

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Yeah, it sounds really neat. I like slow moving games as much as fast moving ones. I''m not sure it would run on a K7-700, but I''ll bet it''ll run in 2-3 years on some computers. In fact, in 2-3 years Intel probably will work most of the kinks out of their IA-64 processor and this sounds like the perfect app, especially if lots of people had that processor. Otherwise, my recommendation is take a day or so and really think about it-is there a better way to design genetic algoritims then how you''re thinking? Remeber facts like evolve means random changes, yes, but generally species will follow one path, and mutations die or change into a new species.

There was a game just like that in "The ellimist chronicles", don''t know if you''ve heard of it, but it''s a sci-fi book that was okay. It actually was a multiplayer comp. game that took place in random solar systems, where you make slight changes in the enviroment and the species evolve to meet those changes. Whichever species defeats the other wins, and so does the player behind them. Kinda hard to explain, but you get my point.

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MadKeithV, I played the SimEarth game. I know it sucked, almost. The major problem with it, I think, was that they couldn’t put as many factors/controls in the game as they wanted. The same problem we’ll have if we make the game I talk about nowadays. IMO, the key is control. If you give player enough factors he can control, it’s gonna be interesting. And would you say a Flight Simulator is fun? Yet there certainly are many people that play such games.
And isn’t stimulating the development of intelligence and watching it grow fun? And look at the Anonymous post: what if the species that evolved on your planet were attacked by other species? Then you could use your powers to help the your species prevail. Also it may come to several intelligent species on one planet: you could decide to keep on of them, but put the other to a test, like twitch the rotation speed of the planet, thus you increase the gravity, thus the Birds (one of the two species) have to evolve to survive.

Keeping the balance is fun, or at least intriguing, IMO.


Boby Dimitrov
boby@azholding.com

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Cool, I get to disagree with the moderator!

First off, an assertion: The Sim games work, but they tend not to work for hardcore gamers. The hardcore wants drama, where as a Sim is just that, a sim.

SimEarth didn''t suck because it was SimEarth, it sucked because it lacked the flair of the other Sim games. It overwhelmed you with detail, had a horribly slow pace, had flat, unimpresive graphics, and ultimately lacked excitement (compared to SimCity, where aliens can invade, tornados strike, or planes fall out of the sky).

For a game like this to work, it''s got to be visually impressive. I''d strive for an engine that could render breathtaking space art scenes. Rival the works of Joe Tucciarone or Pat Rawlings. Think of things like supernovas that rip planets apart, or comets that rain down from the heavens and explode like nuclear missiles. If a game like this is dramatic enough, it will attract a following.

As for the actual "gameplay," I myself would make this a bit like Creatures, only with a civilization. As a creator, you''d be trying to keep your creatures alive.

I see two modes of gameplay: One where you have unlimited power, and the game is a giant lab where the fun is in being able to experiment (what would happen if, during the height of the British Empire, a comet hit the Channel? How would the Romans handle an ice age? How would life develop if the world was nothing but small islands?)

The other mode would be more of a challenge. The player would be less of a god and more of a really intelligent progenitor species. All of the effects, like venting plasma from the sun to make it cooler, or dragging planets into different orbits, would cost some resource. This resource would improve as the civilization developed. I''d make the end goal a spacefaring civilization that comes and meets the player.


Science can always be made interesting if it can be made EXCITING! If it''s as boring as sequencing DNA, then forget about it. But if it has sizzle, then I think the SF fans will go for it in droves.



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

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quote:
SimEarth didn''t suck because it was SimEarth, it sucked because it lacked the flair of the other Sim games. It overwhelmed you with detail, had a horribly slow pace, had flat, unimpresive graphics, and ultimately lacked excitement (compared to SimCity, where aliens can invade, tornados strike, or planes fall out of the sky).


Yes! That was exactly the thing I wanted to say, but my poor english prevented it. It presented you with many details and you couldn''t control most of them, add the slow speed and the bad graphics and you have it.

quote:
For a game like this to work, it''s got to be visually impressive. I''d strive for an engine that could render breathtaking space art scenes. Think of things like supernovas that rip planets apart, or comets that rain down from the heavens and explode like nuclear missiles. If a game like this is dramatic enough, it will attract a following.


It would certainly involve 3D engine and 3D engines would become much better in next several years. You could have all this and tons of other features, like the so called "infinie zoom":zoom out of the galaxy, not just out of the village. Also galaxy/star system/star/planet evolution...

What I imagine as a game play has several variations.

First of all, there should be a Universe Generation mode: now is the time to set the basic pysic laws, gravity, magnetism, universe life, matter, time flow and stuff like that. Once set, those cannot be modified. This is like the map editor, only that it takes, say, an hour to generate a playable universe. Also, generating is not just "Fill in the blanks", it''s more like set some factors, watch it (=the universe; funny, it sounds like i''m talking about hamsters... ) grow, twich some controls to make it, say, more dense of galaxies, etc. The time pass is like 100 000 (or more) years/second. Once you complete this "level" and have a universe, you could only return in that scale in Observation mode, to see if the universe is growing or shrinking and what''s causing that i.e., or to have time pass at faster rate.

Next should come the Galaxy choise level: the player now has to choose a galaxy to play in. Sorting by size, rotational and directional speed, number of stars, etc. Once you choose a galaxy, you could alter some factors in it''s development. Have in mind that it''s a young galaxy we''re talking about and things like mass, rotation, etc, could determine even the life that''s supposed to develop somewhere within. Then you come back to this level only for observation purposes, like to see if youg galaxy is going to collide with another, is the galactic core too dense (hense it starts a chain reaction that leads to destruction of the galaxy itself), and so on, or to have time pass at faster rate.

The Star system mode: now choose a star system you like. Similar to the galaxy sorts, control over number of planets and planets'' moons, sizes, gravity fields, etc. Keep in mind that changing any factor would alter others and that''s valid for every mode. Once you have a system that suits your needs, you could step forward to the Planetary mode, but you could come back at the Star system mode at any time, so you could make modifications, like make an asteroid belt, add a moon to a planet, etc.

It is natural that the changes won''t occur on the minute, but I have no idea fo sar how could be that implemented. Here''s an example: you want to make an asteroid belt more dense, hense you need material for new asteroids. It couldn''t just appear, it must, say, a planet collide with it''s moon and the derbis fill the asteroid belt. As you can see, this is pretty much complicated and won''t be an easy task. Also, it gives a special feeling to the player, as even he''s the creator, he couldn''t override the laws that he created, so he has great power, yet it restricted by his own rules (the one he set when generating a universe).

The Planetary mode follows, then the Biosphere (or Life) mode, but I''ll write about it later, now I''m off to work.
Feel free to comment the above. Have in mind that I made all of up while I was writing, so it could be a bit chaotic.


Boby Dimitrov
boby@azholding.com

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I AM sorry about those doubles, guys The linux Opera is messing the posting process up and send a couple of confirms, instead of one. Moderators, del such posts at will. Sorry again.

Edited by - BobyDimitrov on June 12, 2001 9:33:37 AM

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So, the Planetary mode: here it gets even more complicated. You could change several factors, on which the life development depends, like water/dry land balance, heat, tectonics, etc. If you want to make any modifications, it would take time for them to apply. I.e. if you want increased tectonics, it takes at least 20 000 years for the processes to activate. If you want to stop them or decrease them it would take another 20-30 thousand years. And that would affect the climate, the biosphere, anything on the planet, so you can’t just make changes with a flip of the switch.

And the Biosphere (or Life) mode: this is the most interesting mode and the player is supposed to spend much time in it. Control mutation, growth rate, lifecycle, reproduction, and so on. You could stimulate the life to develop this or that way. You won’t have direct control over the life forms, like give them food or destroy buildings, after all Evolution have much more powerful means. You could have a listing with visuals of the dominant species on the planet. I.e. on Earth, it’ll show humans, ants, roaches and such. If you wanted, you could make ants more wide spread by mutating this and that gene, or via simple interface (haven’t thought of it yet)

Sorry for the messy post, but I’m at work and have clients coming and going all the time, but I can’t wait to share my ideas! Later, guy! Expect more on that topic!


Boby Dimitrov
boby@azholding.com

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