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Sraben

A story in need of a game: feedback appreciated

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In a bit of a twist, I've a story that stands in need of a game. I am a speculative fiction author writing around characters involuntarily trapped in an immersive video game (roughly paralleling game addiction). I would like some feedback from those who's sweat and dreams will build the next generation's games. What I have imagined so far: Darwinian setting. By the time technology catches up to the point of allowing complete sensory immersion, game development will be significantly different. My mind tossed out an image of games that are more grown than hard-scripted. Mountain ranges built not by going through and designing each individual mountain, but by utilizing a fault line in tectonic plates. Forests spring up where conditions are optimal, where soil or saturation doesn't permit, forests give way to meadowland. The vast nature of such a game would demand shortcuts, many of which could be imagined: by avoiding entomophilous plants and hastening natural decay, the entire insect class could be dropped. Variegated gameplay With major companies constantly eyeballing each others' fan-bases, I wouldn't be surprised to find a game of this large scale marketing itself to various genres. Perhaps one continent would be wild and uncivilized, leading adventurous players to play an RPG-esque game akin to EQ, FFXI, WoW, et al. The primary setting of my novel would be more civilized, still attracting the RPG players, perhaps, but those of a more political bent, as it would be more RISK-esque strategy (akin to the Civilization series), with countries vying to expand, perhaps with RPG'ers forming Hero classes, with NPC's fulfilling the rank and file. More territory involves more land to oversee, and more people to feed, so larger countries might see the loss of infantry to serve as farmers as a form of check-and-balance. Other farms could be run by PC's in a SIMFarm type setting, either choosing to interact in a high-risk interactive setting (farms produce better, but have a chance to get destroyed in the next wave of armies should they choose your land to march over) or a PVP protected area (ostensibly behind walls too well guarded and not worth military conquest, or even Swiss-based, neutral to all) safety perhaps at the cost of productivity. Larger cities allow for economic players to shine, as well as provide a place for more SIM-type players to interact. Developer interaction. GM's would be very much god-like, perhaps tiered with varying responsibilities. (Perhaps even have an ascension of extremely skilled players via a job offer...) if balance is too swiftly lost, overcoming the game's emergent/darwinian capabilities, shutdowns would have to take place, also providing time for maintenance on the server end of things. Magic system. Magic would be relatively muted; Earth/Wind/Water glyphic magics allowing for some mageplay for the RPG'ers but also allowing for the blackboxing of tedious tasks elsewhere (the farmers come to mind). On the combat front, earth magics would be largely passive/defensive, water active/aggressive, and wind auxiliary and more readily accessible. Power will be largely based off of endurance and experience. Someone starting out would be able to raise an earthen barrier to duck behind in a pinch, but to raise a wall around a city would be beyond all but the most extremely experienced mages. Perhaps it would be beyond anyone, but with enough experienced mages working together... Bestiary. NPC opponents somewhat following D&D's typing; with animals being naturally benign and neutral, some predators actively seeking blood, but 'evil' being reserved for humanoids or mythical beings of higher intellect. Feedback greatly desired. One element that I'm struggling with is healing. Nearly ubiquitous in videogames to prevent fear of experimentation, it is equally nearly non-existent in books to prevent loss of tension. My story revolves around people trapped in the game, without the powers of PC's nor the immortality of NPC's (think Williams' Otherland or the .Hack franchise{I think}). I could therefor simply bar my characters from healing capabilities, leaving it in-universe only for gamers, but since I am allowing the use of other magic this seems contrived to me. What other options do you see? Would passive regeneration be a viable option in such a world? Any other major flaws I am missing? Exploits people would immediately latch on to? What would you expect as a gamer/love to do as a developer? Thoughts, comments, critiques all very much welcome. Thanks for your time and consideration.

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Quote:
Original post by MeshGearFox
I think that if you focus too much on developing an imaginary game, your book is going to read like a manual.

Aye, that is a concern to keep an eye on. Ultimately my story is not focused on milieu; I'm not writing a Gulliver's Travels II: Lost in the Game! So I do need to be sure that the setting doesn't take over, and thank you for the caution. That being said, the better I know my setting, the more realistic I can make my character interactions. (think David Michael's Splinter Cell)

I probably posted too much exposition here, fearing coming across as a creativity leech. I had hoped to give the information that a game developer would be interested in, but likely let my pride carry me away. Really what I am looking for are possible healing mechanics that wouldn't seem out of place in such a setting.

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