Sign in to follow this  
Wavinator

Time-based Content Generation

Recommended Posts

The space game I'm working on depends on the player being able to explore a wide amount of procedurally generated environments (planets and solar systems). In theory I plan to have two sources of mission-related activity-- traditional quest givers and random events whose probabilities are spawned by past player actions. But one thought of late has been whether or not I should try to structure content around play time itself. My plan is to divide the game universe into a slowly expanding "Known Space" and a slowly shrinking unexplored frontier. Known Space, because it's settled, will contain the first two types of content-- specific groups that want things done, and random events (such as the chance of encounter bounty hunters after the player for past crimes). Unknown space, however, will be huge in comparison and rather than relying on the chance that players will find the content I've planned I've wondered about generating it near them based on how long it's been since they've discovered or encountered something. Would it detract from the experience of exploration to know that the game universe is not fixed, but instead dependent on how long it's been since something interesting happened? What impact would it have on how meaningful your choices were? After all it might mean that you were neither lucky nor smart about finding things, but that the game just wanted to make sure you weren't bored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah I agree, you are probably better off not explaining the details of how it works.

If people don't understand where the "walls" of your universe are, they might think it's infinitely large somehow (or something like that)

mystery is good, players fill in the details with their own imaginings (:

A lil off topic, i think this is why old games like zelda 1 and metroid were so fun. They didnt explain anything, you appeared in a world of unknown size and unknown possibilities and "went to it", figuring it out as you went, never knowing when the next new thing would come around and open up whole new places to explore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Unknown space, however, will be huge in comparison and rather than relying on the chance that players will find the content I've planned I've wondered about generating it near them based on how long it's been since they've discovered or encountered something.
In my degree, we had to build this kind of sim using a poisson distribution to determine the amount of time until the next event. It worked very well and is tweakable.
Quote:
Would it detract from the experience of exploration to know that the game universe is not fixed, but instead dependent on how long it's been since something interesting happened? What impact would it have on how meaningful your choices were? After all it might mean that you were neither lucky nor smart about finding things, but that the game just wanted to make sure you weren't bored.
Maybe it would detract, knowing you could go in any direction and still have the same 'discovery' - so just don't tell people that you're using probability!
But anyway, there should be some interesting game-play that occurs once the 'discovery' has been made, making the random-event just the catalyst for a series of interesting decisions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Would it detract from the experience of exploration to know that the game universe is not fixed, but instead dependent on how long it's been since something interesting happened? What impact would it have on how meaningful your choices were? After all it might mean that you were neither lucky nor smart about finding things, but that the game just wanted to make sure you weren't bored.

Not at all. Your idea is brilliant. Have you never been in a situation were you felt "I just want to go out today, but don't know where", and then you get outside your door and think "left or right?". And it really doesn't matter if you go left or right, you just want to get out of your safety zone. The decision of which direction you leave the known universe is not a matter of skill. If they find a new planet based on how long they have been traveling, and the new planet is made persistent from then on, then they will be more than happy. It's pretty much procedural generation too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I support the idea. Everyone is right about keeping the details a secret though. After taking games more seriously I've started to really look into how they work. For me its really taken a lot of the fun away from games in general.

If I could go back to the not knowing and just enjoying I would ^^

If your game is tracking 'play time' will there be scripted events between random time frames? Example being say between 10-15 hours of total play time a scripted event plays out but how something happens depends on what you've accomplished within that time.

One scripted event could have multiple branches and because everyone plays differently would offer a different game experience for each, they also offer replay value. I'm just curious ^^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The main danger I see is if the reward system provides a net benefit to avoid exploring. If your system chooses interesting events to be the discovery of useful planet types, for example, then it would be prudent to game the system. If I'm wanting to scout out mining deposits and I know that a rich mineral planet crops up far more frequently every half hour, I might as well go and do something else while the timer ticks down then go find a series of boring useless planets, increasing the distance my ships have to fly than if I wait and create the next juicy planet the next system across.

Play balancing would counter that, however. I could see it working well if you had separate pools of events for exploring and those on a timer for "interesting events". Things like bounty hunter attacks are far more suited to timers, while finding "special planets" are not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
If I'm wanting to scout out mining deposits and I know that a rich mineral planet crops up far more frequently every half hour, I might as well go and do something else while the timer ticks down then go find a series of boring useless planets, increasing the distance my ships have to fly than if I wait and create the next juicy planet the next system across.

The event "finding a new planet" should always keep space in the equation. It would be a function of the known area and number of planets in a radius around your ship, AND time. Once you have cruised an area, it's no longer unknown, and the probability of finding something is a lot less the next time you pass the same area.
Otherwise, as you said, I would just explore in circles, around my homeworld, creating planet after planet on top of each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You might want to consider having this system generate exploration quests. The actual area to explore is static but the trigger for the quest to be given (a simple NPC wants something over thattaway perhaps) could be generated based on time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why not make the border regions have both fixed and time-variable encounters? It should help some way in disguising the time dependency of time-variable encounters. It also more easily creates peaks and lows in the encounter rate during exploration, where sometimes the time-variable encounters coincide with the fixed encounters, giving the possibility to create an idea that some parts are more densely traversed or populated than others. If most encounters in border space are depending on time alone, with perhaps a longer and longer duration the farther you go from certain hubs, people will probably notice this and become encouraged to explore certain regions.

By placing some fixed locations with more fleshed out and complex missions you strengthen the spirit of exploration and a feeling of diversity. A time dependent could do this as well by simply having missions which differ in complexity and such pop up, but a fixed situation creates more of an anchorage for you and lets you tie it in with other fixed quests.

What should be avoided is that the time dependent encounters become a drudge, a task the player feels required or commanded to do. Either you end up with somewhat generic variable missions that will repeat themselves, or the player will simply run out of them after a certain time. If you have fixed encounters the player is ensured to encounter new and creative situations, while you can space the time variable encounters out over a longer time making them less repetitive if repetitive, or last for a longer time if depletive and non-repetitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about the "Space In Between".

If you ahve ship jumping from one system to another there are two ways to do it: Wormholes, or Warp Drive. It doesn't matter what you end up calling them (jump nodes, FTL drive, or whatever) the function of them is what is important.

With Warp Drive, ships are free to travel anywhere at any time. In this case, there is no real in between spaces to explore.

However, using Wormholes would only allow you to travel between known entry and exit points. This allow for the possibility of new wormholes to be discovered that take you to new places, without having to increase the physical size of the space.

If exploring new locations (star systems, planets, etc) is either (or both) risky or expensive (in money and/or time) then this makes for a realistic reason that not all places are explored, and that places unexplored are the more dangerous/hard to do.

What you can do then is to have new locations slowly explored by nearby systems (nearby in terms of the network of wormholes) over a period of time and thus opening up new areas for the player to explore.

Or, if you allow wormhole entrances to be discovered over time, but then allow the player to volunteer to explore the other side, this give a natural and constant source of missions for the player.

As an aside: There is an interesting idea that NASA uses that they call the "Interplanetary Superhighway" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_Transport_Network). Although are not Wormholes in the typical sense, what if you stretched science (like all good sci-fi :D ) so that only through these Interplanetary Superhighway links a ship can achieve superluminal speeds (these links would also exist outside out solar system between stars). In reality, they are just the most efficient path between gravitational bodies and nothing to do with real wormholes, but a very cool idea anyway.

But back to the topic at hand:

As for getting the player to discover the "Unknown Space" missions, if you have a significant reward (and the risk being high) and have a procedurally generating algorithms place links to these missions in Known space (adverts for "Brave Space Explorers" or such), then this allows you to have these Unknown Space missions knowable to players in the Know Space and give them incentive to become the "frontiersmen".

If you also allow known systems to take on a different characteristic (say low paying transport jobs), then it will give the player a sense of the receding frontier, and give them a subtle psychological push towards the unknown (you could even have the player meet grizzled old spaces lamenting the lost frontier and the encroaching strip malls).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By itself, it seems it'll be problematic for planned content (the other replies did a much better job of giving thoughts on that than I could have). To solve the same issue, why not go with area of unknown space explored instead, rather than time or distance? They are still guaranteed to find your planned content but without some of the problems mentioned by others that going by time introduces. Even if it were just the events that were based on time, and not the actual planets etc., you would still have the issue of just waiting around x minutes, and then go explore and find the first planet to get your next event.

Also, this probably occurred to you, but not telling others will only work for so long. Look at every other game ever - once someone figures out a game mechanic the world quickly finds out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like the idea being able to explore the great unknown, and having the interesting bit be where ever I am. But I’m not keen on the time based factor.

I region based system would achieve the same effect but be more interesting I think. When exploring the frontier when entering an unexplored area for the first time it generates a region of space most likely from some preset designs with procedural generated contented and random factors to make them unique. Regions of space would have different sizes and features unique to them. Players wouldn’t know what region of space they were in until they had started exploring it. For instance I might be currently travelling through a region filled with dangerous spatial currents, energy damping fields, and rouge planetoids. The game would provide events appropriate to that areas but also decided how big it is. So it might only take me 10 minutes to fly across this small region and once I reach the other side of that region the game would generate a new region to explore. The new region might be a vast area of space controlled by race of cybernetic creatures with on host of challenges. It also means if I think it to risky I can just turn around and try my luck somewhere else.

Regions will allow you to achieve the same results as time based event generation without the time sink. And allow you to group similar content together, let the player move onto other places should they not like the content in one place, and make creation of a generated map of space and expanding known space easier.

Also one idea you could use with region is the idea of the Heechee spaceships from the book "Gateway" for exploration. They were ships discovered on an alien space station by humans who knew how to use them but not how they worked. This meant they knew how to enter coordinates into the ship and take off, but no clue as to what the coordinates meant. Teams of explorers would go off into the complete unknown with no idea where they were going, how long it would take to get there or what they would find when they got there.

If you incorporated a Heechee type drive as the means of exploring the frontier in which you can swap coordinates with friends it would add community aspect of the game. Players could then exchange stories of adventure in the same regions even though they are playing solo. It could also be used if you wanted to host contests and events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe if it was something like reading local newspaper headlines and you could choose to investigate a situation. But in general, it doesn't really strike me as being much different than a random combat encounter generator. I think having a situation suddenly pop into existance a couple feet from you with no explination of causality will quickly give the same feel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by kseh
Maybe if it was something like reading local newspaper headlines and you could choose to investigate a situation. But in general, it doesn't really strike me as being much different than a random combat encounter generator. I think having a situation suddenly pop into existance a couple feet from you with no explination of causality will quickly give the same feel.

You don't need to have them as completely random and unconnected. The game can keep track of various things and NPCs you have dealt with in the past (the amount of memory is not as restrictive as it once was), even if these were initially randomly created.

Using these are the basis of a procedural generation algorithm you can then ahve the players past actions and associations "cause" (well appear to cause) these new events.

For example:

Say the player once did a delivery to a Guy that worked for Space Adventure Inc. (an exploration company). Later when the game states that a "random" mission to unknown space is available, it looks at the NPCs in your past and sees that you had a connection to this company. It then creates an event where by the same NPC calls you up and asks if you are interested in a job (and makes mention that you did a job for him once).

Of course, not every random mission would be generated like this, many could just be random NPCs (which might be used later). If the player has repeated interactions with a certain NPC (because they keep taking jobs from them) then you can increase the frequency that they are involved in these random events.

If your algorithms are smart enough, then you can actually weave a story like this through procedurally generated content. You can also do it with scripted events.

There was a party game that went around a few year ago (and is still fairly popular in some circles), called: Mad Libbing.

The idea of this is that you ahve sentences where some words are mission. You are given a few blank spaces (indexed with a number and what kind of work should go there) and are not allowed to know the sentence (until later). You fill in the words as directed and then place them in the sentence which is then read out (supposedly to everyone hilarity).

But this could be used for games too. If you ahve "Roles" within the story that you would normally construct a specific NPC for, you could instead leave it blank and fill it with an appropriate NPC that had been created by the procedural generation.

So if the plot called for a friend of the player to be killed, then the game could keep track of such an NPC, and then when the appropriate time is right for this event to occur, the NPC the player has developed a friendship with is the one that is killed.

Basically you would need 3 things: Names, Time s and Places to be filled by procedurally generated content. These would ahve tags (or such) associated with them that would guide the game to assign the right NPC, Time or place into the needed slot.

It would take a bit of work to make this. It is not simple. But if done right, it would make truly dynamic games possible, with both scripted (semi scripted really) events and completely constructed events from the actions (and procedurally generated events) that the player take and the decisions they make.

It is one thing to rob a guy, but then another thing to see him later begging in the street (the game takes note that you robbed that particular NPC, and then when it calls for a beggar, that NPC's name fits the needs and so it is selected).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ID Merlin
If players can't tell the difference, it will make no difference, correct?


Technically you're right, but as popsoftheyear points out players are eventually going to find out, either through replaying or by comparing notes with friends. At that point I'm not sure if the thrill of the discovery is a letdown or not. It could be undermining, sort of like combat systems that automatically scale difficulty which leave you asking if you won the fight because you were lucky or because the game took pity on you.

Quote:
Original post by Atrix256
mystery is good, players fill in the details with their own imaginings (:

A lil off topic, i think this is why old games like zelda 1 and metroid were so fun. They didnt explain anything, you appeared in a world of unknown size and unknown possibilities and "went to it", figuring it out as you went, never knowing when the next new thing would come around and open up whole new places to explore.


I agree with you there. People will fill in explanations and will likely enjoy mastering the system as they uncover it. Speaking of old games, I'm using Starflight as inspiration and that's what brought up this thread. In Starflight there's coordinate based treasure hunting gameplay, where you search about for artifacts, receiving clues from aliens or ruins you stumble upon. But I don't really see it working in today's walkthrough age, where it's all too tempting to just pull up a list that spoils the surprise of where everything is.

In considering exploration, I've been mulling over what exactly makes it fun. Wandering aimlessly isn't fun, nor is uninterrupted repetition. But if content appeared near you, it would make both your universe unique and your experience controllable from a design perspective.

Quote:
Original post by Hodgman
In my degree, we had to build this kind of sim using a poisson distribution to determine the amount of time until the next event. It worked very well and is tweakable.


I knew one day I'd kick myself for not paying closer attention in my Stats class. [smile] This is very interesting. I've not thought about making the analysis this sophisticated but it at least gives me a direction to consider.




Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by hiigara
Have you never been in a situation were you felt "I just want to go out today, but don't know where", and then you get outside your door and think "left or right?". And it really doesn't matter if you go left or right, you just want to get out of your safety zone. The decision of which direction you leave the known universe is not a matter of skill. If they find a new planet based on how long they have been traveling, and the new planet is made persistent from then on, then they will be more than happy.


I like your example, but there's one point I think I'd better clarify: The player is going to have some overall understanding of the probability space before they start going left or right. Large scale territory is relatively fixed, but what you find in it varies within a range. Finding a habitable planet which would net the player a handsome reward, for instance, would be based on investigating G type stars. But what's on the planet or hanging out in the system, facts which the player has no logical reason to believe they should know beforehand, would be random and potentially time based.

So just as you might expect a certain range of things to happen based on what neighborhood you live in, certain locations should clue the player in to possible encounters in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Robert-Glen
If your game is tracking 'play time' will there be scripted events between random time frames? Example being say between 10-15 hours of total play time a scripted event plays out but how something happens depends on what you've accomplished within that time.


Yes, more or less in the form of large scale events like wars, discoveries and famines.

Quote:

One scripted event could have multiple branches and because everyone plays differently would offer a different game experience for each, they also offer replay value. I'm just curious ^^


You're right. I've been working toward making different outcomes based on a series of dependent stats. In some cases, it's as simple as a change in the text that describes an outcome, but in others it should (hopefully) generate different entities in the play area or changes to game rules (as would be the case of a technology discovery).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
The main danger I see is if the reward system provides a net benefit to avoid exploring. If your system chooses interesting events to be the discovery of useful planet types, for example, then it would be prudent to game the system.


I hadn't thought of that, although I was thinking that there'd have to be some activity that would drive what I'm thinking of at the moment as the "discovery timer." Maybe it's that you have to be peeling back the map borders, or you have to actively be using some skill.

Quote:

If I'm wanting to scout out mining deposits and I know that a rich mineral planet crops up far more frequently every half hour, I might as well go and do something else while the timer ticks down then go find a series of boring useless planets, increasing the distance my ships have to fly than if I wait and create the next juicy planet the next system across.


Good point. Those mineral deposits would have to depend on detecting that the player is actually looking.

Quote:

Play balancing would counter that, however. I could see it working well if you had separate pools of events for exploring and those on a timer for "interesting events". Things like bounty hunter attacks are far more suited to timers, while finding "special planets" are not.


I had been thinking of artifact sites and what's in them, sort of akin to the chests in a fantasy game. Whether or not you run across an interesting ruin could be time based, but I'd have to be certain that the time was somewhat irregular if I did do this.

Just to clarify, take this example: You can choose to land anywhere on a planet. If I generate artifact sites, I've got to tweak the generator algorithm until the density is appropriate (not to mention what you find). If I make it time based, then where you land isn't really as important. I can then place emphasis on gear (detection equipment) and staff (trained archeologists) and generate according to how you've chosen to use limited resources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Drethon
You might want to consider having this system generate exploration quests. The actual area to explore is static but the trigger for the quest to be given (a simple NPC wants something over thattaway perhaps) could be generated based on time.


That's possible, and maybe far more controllable than what I was thinking. My misgiving would be that you're in an open ended game world, so even if the quest trigger is timed nothing prevents you from going there ahead of time.

Quote:
Original post by Feldrin
Why not make the border regions have both fixed and time-variable encounters? It should help some way in disguising the time dependency of time-variable encounters.


I like that idea. I was thinking you'd get this anyway with the encroachment of civilization (frequency of prospectors, bandits or explorers, for instance). It might work to have procedurally generated and time-based finds, maybe with the proximity of the procedurally generated ones modifying the time-based ones. So if you land on a planet and already know there are n locations of interest, and that's a threshold for discoveries at that location, then maybe the time-dependent stuff doesn't even kick in because you're expected to go where you know stuff is.


Quote:

By placing some fixed locations with more fleshed out and complex missions you strengthen the spirit of exploration and a feeling of diversity. A time dependent could do this as well by simply having missions which differ in complexity and such pop up, but a fixed situation creates more of an anchorage for you and lets you tie it in with other fixed quests.


Good point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
However, using Wormholes would only allow you to travel between known entry and exit points. This allow for the possibility of new wormholes to be discovered that take you to new places, without having to increase the physical size of the space.


Hey, that's pretty cool!

I've already gone the warp route in the form of an "overmap" of interstellar space with your ship flying between stars. I want to keep this gameplay because it can help create an immense sense of scale and I can throw in some nifty forms of gameplay (like a "radar run" where you avoid enemies as you warp through their territory).

I was in the process of adding wormholes to this level, but if I blended your idea there's nothing really stopping me from making them terminate in interesting locations (solar systems, maybe even planets-- heck even pocket universes).

Quote:

If exploring new locations (star systems, planets, etc) is either (or both) risky or expensive (in money and/or time) then this makes for a realistic reason that not all places are explored, and that places unexplored are the more dangerous/hard to do.


At the moment wormhole navigation is skill dependent with possible damage to your ship. This would make a good reason why there could be pockets of unexplored space even as civilization advances. And I can control the appearance of the wormholes based on time or even other factors, like how peaceful (boring) the player has made the universe.

Quote:

As an aside: There is an interesting idea that NASA uses that they call the "Interplanetary Superhighway" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_Transport_Network). Although are not Wormholes in the typical sense, what if you stretched science (like all good sci-fi :D ) so that only through these Interplanetary Superhighway links a ship can achieve superluminal speeds (these links would also exist outside out solar system between stars). In reality, they are just the most efficient path between gravitational bodies and nothing to do with real wormholes, but a very cool idea anyway.


Ah, that's interesting. Thanks for the reference.

Quote:

If you also allow known systems to take on a different characteristic (say low paying transport jobs), then it will give the player a sense of the receding frontier, and give them a subtle psychological push towards the unknown (you could even have the player meet grizzled old spaces lamenting the lost frontier and the encroaching strip malls).


[smile] That's cool. I'd thought about the idea that one of the downsides of the encroachment of civilization is the imposition of law. So maybe on the frontier you're used to tossing low-yeild nukes around, but when the rangers show up, followed by the marshalls and then the military, it might be time to move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Regions will allow you to achieve the same results as time based event generation without the time sink. And allow you to group similar content together, let the player move onto other places should they not like the content in one place, and make creation of a generated map of space and expanding known space easier.


I'm not opposed to the idea of regions, but I think I'm looking for a more surefire way of making sure that the player gets to the content. Of course it's easy to say "oh, just make lots of content" but that may not be possible.

In theory your idea could work with the timers if timers were region dependent.

Quote:

If you incorporated a Heechee type drive as the means of exploring the frontier in which you can swap coordinates with friends it would add community aspect of the game. Players could then exchange stories of adventure in the same regions even though they are playing solo. It could also be used if you wanted to host contests and events.


This sounds like a cool idea (I misread it at first as being multiplayer). I've been thinking that if I alter the random seeds for generating territory you could have your own unique territory, but the community aspect adds something if I don't go with timer-based content.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
[smile] That's cool. I'd thought about the idea that one of the downsides of the encroachment of civilization is the imposition of law. So maybe on the frontier you're used to tossing low-yeild nukes around, but when the rangers show up, followed by the marshalls and then the military, it might be time to move on.

I also thought about suggesting Laws of the place, but that really didn't use the psychology of the player to encourage them to seek the frontier. It felt more like the game would be forcing the player out of these systems.

My idea was to encourage the player to see the frontier and to avoid civilisation.

If you provide an adversary to the player and what they want to do (the law, cops, etc), then they are likely to fight back. You will be encouraging the player to stay in that location and fight back at the encroaching civilisation.

But, if you make the frontier more lucrative, then this encourages them to move out and not stay.

If you make the civilised system provide less well paying jobs, and make them boring (the old grind fests), then it achieves two goals:

1) Encourag4es the player to leave civilised areas
2) Provide a safe haven if they need to recover after a big set back

The frontier should be the exciting place, not the civilisation. Cop chases and such can drag attention away from the core aspect of your game, that of the excitement of the unknown regions and exploration of them (which is why you ahve an expanding frontier).

I suppose it is a case of the carrot and the stick. You can beat them with the stick (punish them by using cops), or you can use the carrot (reward them for following the frontier).

It would also give your world a dynamic feeling (even though it is just scripted) and give the player a sense that they have an influence on the world (but again, it is mainly an illusion as it is pre-determined before they start playing). But it would be a good illusion :D .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
If you provide an adversary to the player and what they want to do (the law, cops, etc), then they are likely to fight back. You will be encouraging the player to stay in that location and fight back at the encroaching civilisation.


I see what you mean about psychology, but this one bugs me. Why can't civilization be an overwhelming, rising force? Even if there is a possible adversarial aspect, is there any reason why, given two distinctly different areas (civilized and wild) that the game has to be fair versus just being life-like.

If you have a frontier the player can escape into I don't think you have the same problem as, say a crime-based open-ended game where the law has to be beatable in order for the player to progress. The law could get tougher and tougher and yes, you might feel forced out, but that's actually not an unrealistic sentiment amongst frontier types.

Quote:

If you make the civilised system provide less well paying jobs, and make them boring (the old grind fests), then it achieves two goals:

1) Encourag4es the player to leave civilised areas
2) Provide a safe haven if they need to recover after a big set back


This might work, although I'm not a big fan of putting anything into a game that's intentionally boring. It's like badly designed save systems-- players have a way of blaming the game for whatever's there, even if they technically could have avoided it.

Quote:

The frontier should be the exciting place, not the civilisation. Cop chases and such can drag attention away from the core aspect of your game, that of the excitement of the unknown regions and exploration of them (which is why you ahve an expanding frontier).


Well this one will keep me up late at night. Crap. You make a good point about what should the core focus be. If civilization is actually as interesting as the wilderness and you have no extra incentive to go into the unknown, will players do it?

I guess it will depend on how adventurous they are.

Quote:

It would also give your world a dynamic feeling (even though it is just scripted) and give the player a sense that they have an influence on the world (but again, it is mainly an illusion as it is pre-determined before they start playing). But it would be a good illusion :D .


Thanks for the really good points (even those that are disturbing[smile]).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just read this whole thread, which is a lot to digest! So I'm not going to address any particular points brought up and instead just bring up a couple things I thought about while reading....

There seems to be a lot of emphasis here that one reason to leave the civilized areas is to escape the civilization and go explore the frontier. Yet the original post states the 'plan is to divide the game universe into a slowly expanding "Known Space" and a slowly shrinking unexplored frontier.' It's also mentioned that the known areas will have missions and random encounters.

Then everyone ran off with the idea of how to get the player out of the Known Area and into exploring the unknown stuff. Why exactly? Are the missions not going to be as cool or something in the Known Areas? I bring this up to say that simply forcing the player to leave and explore after a certain amount of time could lead to its own kind of grind, where there is no reason to stay in any area for a extended length of time because the entire game is biased towards making it unpleasurable after a certain amount of time simply to get the player out of that area and into the Unknown. I guess I am saying to be wary of creating a game based on Escaping instead of Exploring!

Since the aim (I'm gathering from the few different threads I've read about this game so far) is to create a huge game where the content is generated procedurally, I wonder if the spirit of exploration is necessarily diminished when a player decides that they really like some particular area they found and wants to stick around. What about the idea of claiming planets and creating towns, cities, states and eventually civilizations? Exploration might be a whole different ballgame when it's your interplanetary armada being sent out to find places to expand the Empire into....


Getting back to the actual topic of generating events based on time, I think it's a sound idea if we assume the player is somehow missing out on what the game has to offer. Say they DO want to go exploring, but for some reason keep missing out on the actual areas that have the new content they're looking for. Then it would make sense for the game to offer quests or missions to the player in a more direct manner, and a timer could be the mechanism for determining if this should occur or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this