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Repairing the Universe - Game Idea

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Well since everybody has been getting such useful comments for their game ideas, I figured I''d put out one I''ve been having trouble with and let people play with it. And I''m looking for a co-writer if anyone really likes this idea. This is a 1 player adventure game with dialog strategy as well as object and action puzzles. Repairing the Universe (better title later) One day a god was swimming along through the sea of universes when she (well not really she but you know what I mean) bumped into our universe and STOPPED. (What?) As you might imagine, it’s difficult to surprise a god, but she looked at our universe, and she looked again, and she was gobsmacked. (What is this? Who made it? Why?) It was nothing like a proper universe. It leaked. (This being the phenomenon we know as entropy.) It was in the process of slowly ripping itself apart. (The expansion of the universe, black and white holes, gravity.) There couldn’t possibly be any intelligent beings in this madness… And then she saw us, tenaciously living our short little lives on our insane planet. And the Itarians, doing the same, and the Wyverra, and the Humans… (Oh *%&$#@! [Untranslatable expletive, but trust me it was a really bad one.]) Some god had committed a MAJOR crime in building this universe. Or, unthinkably, an empty universe had somehow gone out of it’s balanced storage mode and, by some utterly unlikely chance, spontaneously generated this deranged system and the intelligent life it somehow supported. Gods are not indecisive – as soon as she understood what she was seeing (well not seeing but you know what I mean) she knew what she had to do. Fix it. Fix it in such a way that the life inside would not be damaged, slowly enough that the life could adapt. Fix it from the inside. She sorted through the available minds, selecting her tools. * * * The god began with a child and a make-believe kingdom; after all, in one way or another, everything starts there. Thylacine sat her pony with the air of a hero-queen seeing in her prosperous and harmonious queendom the fruit of all her works and days of mind and hands. Tiger stood statuesque and well-turned out in his zebra dun hide, a gentleman by his stripes and a fit supporter for Her Regalness. The queendom itself showed Her Majesty to be an artist: from its name, Penumbre, to its walls of beach glass, willow withe arches spiderwebbed into palaces by yarn, and radiocentric arrangement around the Mall of Her Dreams. You know, the one with the five-star restaurant surrounded by fountains and palm trees; the store where you can use a computer to design your own clothes and have them produced on the spot by a special fabric printer; the store with everything shiny, from foil-art to huge gemstones; the zoo qua pet store; the Library of Congress; the movie theater that plays old movies by request… you get the idea. Some might think 14 a bit too old for such play, but if she weren’t still interested in make-believe the world would miss out on the odd beauty of the civic plan born from her maturing sense of design and juvenile fascination with Utopian theory. Not that the world appreciated said plan. Tiger thought it was interesting, but what do horses know about civic planning? Not much… but Thylacine reassured herself that Tiger appreciated its elegant yet lively atmosphere, and that was what counted, really. Well, not really, but it was pleasant to look at things that way for a moment. At any rate, Thylacine judged Penumbre to be an improvement on the uninterrupted grass that normally occupied this part of the back yard. And the god agreed, selecting Thylacine the Wyverra as the native guide for the first of her repairs. Thylacine beheld Penumbre, and it was good; with the small exception that it lacked wyverns. Sure it had a statue of Shakespeare the Poetic, one of the noble knights who had founded the city, dramatically mounted on his draconic bond-steed Wilde, but there were no make-believe real wyverns in the city. And Thylacine had been getting more and more interested in Wyverns as she approached the age where she could court an egg and perhaps win a lifetime companion a bit smarter than Tiger, who had gotten bored and was now making his contribution towards mowing the lawn. Like most children, Thylacine had parents, and what her parents thought of wyvern-riding was this: Wyvern riders were generally a bit odd and a bit cocky – Thylacine should fit right in. Carrying packages and passengers by wyvern-express was steady work at good pay, and if there happened to be a war wyvern-riders had a higher survival rate than other soldiers. Basically, it was good work if you could get it. Thylacine’s parents were, as you can see, about average in the parental cluelessness range. It was obvious to Thylacine, however, that wyverns were cool because they were the ultimate accessory: a best friend who would never decide you were boring or move away or start competing with you for grades, money, or others’ attention; flashy transport that evidenced your prosperity; and a sexy partner who’s loyalty to you advertised your social and reproductive fitness. And they came with a stylish uniform for the rider. Now, wyverns are not officially considered sexy, and it would be unheard of for a person to have sex with one, but their species was quite closely related to people, and the similarities were evident. The ruffle, a fringe of skin along the underside of a person’s arms that was an important part of mating rituals, was obviously a vestigial version of a wyvern’s wing. A person’s hand was a weaker but more agile version of a wyvern’s powerful claw. And most obviously, a wyvern’s genitals might be horse-sized, but just like a person’s in every other detail. And wyverns don’t wear clothes. Thylacine, being something of a late bloomer, wasn’t terribly interested in draconic exhibitionism – it was a bosom companion, a soul twin, that she wished for. (Here there is much lamenting about the fact that very few people can have wyverns. After the player completes an intervening game section this situation is changed to the following: The only way to become a wyvern rider is to dream a wyvern for yourself. To dream it strongly, clearly, and persistently. One went at egg-laying time to the nearest aerie, sat in the meditation gallery around the egg-laying chamber, and called a wyvern into existence. While they wait for the eggs to be laid, and to hatch, to clarify and reinforce their vision most wyvern-seekers create something – a song, a story, a drawing, a sculpture of their dream-wyvern. It’s best to have your vision clear and ready on the first day they let the public into the meditation gallery, as they would in two weeks. Thus Thylacine had come out to look upon her city, and use the strength of its envisioning as a strong foundation for her vision of a wyvern. Make-believe, with adult (well, nearly) understanding behind it is more powerful than one might think. It was a secret Thylacine knew: that most of the world you live in you carry around with you, inside your head, and if you can change what’s in your head, the whole world changes accordingly. Gravity and other laws of physics, no, but meanings, expectations, relationships, oh yes. You can alter your little piece of the consensual universe and watch the meme-ripples spread to your advantage…. Well, it’s more like advertising than sorcery, but it worked for Thylacine. So… what would this soul-twin wyvern-of-her-dreams be like? Thylacine dismounted, freeing Tiger to graze. She pulled a handful of sweet clover from the yard, offering most of it to Tiger, and taking a few leaves for herself. Chewing thoughtfully, she gazed at the delicate towers and arches of her city. Did she want a classical wyvern, a dragon-like animal with 2 wings and 2 legs? Or did she want one of the pegasi or gryphons that had started popping out of wyvern eggs? Maybe something entirely new would be best… (Here begins the first segment of adventure-game play, in which the god acts through Thylacine to make the universe responsive to human desires. And the peasants are mightily confused, but when they figure out they don’t have to be afraid, they rejoice. Then another tool-mind of a different race is introduced, and the god acts through them to fix something else, rinse and repeat. Things that get fixed are mortality, pain, bigotry, etc.

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Did you by any chance ever read some Terry Pratchett ?
Sorry, I know it''s not very helpful, but I though of it when I read the part about dreaming your Wyvern.
Also Terry Pratchett and some scientists wrote an excellent vulgarisation book called the Science of Discworld, which has some hilarious passages about some magicians trying to fix a round universe (long to explain).

Your idea sound almost like an educational game, but what advises do you require here ? ''cause I can''t seem to make any real criticism ... except "oh, I like this thing" That''s not very helpful, is it?

I can only see one problem maybe in the goals of the game that you mention, fixing the problems like "mortality, pain, bigotry..."
All this is very much subect to discussion. I guess I would love to know why they should be fixed... mortality, pain are reminders that we should enjoy what we have when we have it. pain is usually a reminder that we are not taking care of ourselves properly. One might argue that immortality is a curse, and the absence of suffering or hardship is a lost opportunity to overcome them and prove your worth... at least I know I would

waddayathink ?




Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Reminds me more of Anne McCaffery (sp?) than Discworld.

I think you''ve got a solid start. And a nice sized target audience to aim at.

For this first section, is the protagonist a princess or just thinks that she is? I didn''t see a clear connection between the princess and wyvern rider bits. You can probably get away with a bunch of hand-waving though, so it isn''t major.

I suggest keeping the protagonists of the other sections roughly the same age and sex as Thyacine, but change the personality to fit other archetypes/stereotypes, so the player gets to play other points of view. Then the fans can argue which Barbi^H^H character they like best.

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AP - she''s just pretending. I realize this part is confusing, but it should make a lot more sense when converted into an fmv.

Barbie! Actually I wanted the players to have a diversity of genders, ages, species.

McCaffrey is an interesting comparison to make - I suppose I was subconsciously modelling this particular segment on memories of her dragonriders, but on the other hand I consider the greatest flaw of her work to be that she never allows her universe to change and evolve, exactly the opposite of my scenario where the god directs our universe''s evolution.

ahw - yes, I''ve read some Pratchett. I loves
_Good Omens_ and the one about the phantom of the opera was really funny too.

What I''m really asking for is suggestions for details - what should the alien races be like, what should be the objectives of the segments (other than the ones I mentioned), what should the other protagonists be like? Oh, and the big question: what should the player have to do to accomplish something like "making magic exist" or "changing human minds so that bigotry ceases to exist"? I really don''t have a clue other than that it should involve convincing people to do things or be in the right places. I''d like to base my gameplay on Obsidian''s, if anyone''s played that game.

Do you think I need to convince people within the game that these things need to be fixed? I could try to do show by starting each gameplay segment out with a tragic event, but I really don''t want to do that - I want this game to be about wish fullfillment and achieving utopia. Maybe several tragedies could be witnessed by the god and she could cry etc., and then resolve to fix this poor universe and help its tortured inhabitants? But then would I need to have an infodump explaining the alien cultures the goddess was seeing? Infodumping right at the beginning of a story is generally a bad idea.

At any rate, I''m happy you guys think this is an intresting idea.

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Just wanna point(haha, yea my name... so... lol) something out here. You all know what Universe means right? :-) Just making sure... Something about 1. :-P

Well, I had the same idea `bout many universes. I also did alot more fantasy-fiction on it too. I described that each Universe looked like a sphere, but much different. These spheres are special. I gave them the name Omega-Sphere''s. When you look at them from far enough, they look normal, but when you get close (enough that you think you would enter the sphere) the sides of the sphere cascade around you. Hard to explain, but its like your in a bowl. When you look at it, it seems as if you are the center of this ''bowl''. But its not true. If someone was near you, they would also think they were the center of the ''bowl'' and you where on the edge of it. Anyway. Beyond these Omega-Spheres is a white magical void. This space between Omega-Spheres is called the Dialios (Die-lee-oh-s). The Dialios is the true end of the vastness of space. The Dialios contains many unimaginable things (which I have yet to imagine... lol).

Anyway... You could go ahead and get ideas off of what I just desc above. Just letting you know though, don''t get the idea''s too closely oriented, because I plan to eventually make a game similar to it. (of course unless you want me as a co-writer, then your game would have what I said above in full form... heh.)

So, laterz!

Alex Ford
PointSoft EA Co., Ltd.
http://www.pointsoftonline.com

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I like the goal of the game, but I''m confused on a few points. You said Thylacine is just imaging the world you described, so does this mean she is a girl living here in the real world. If so, how does her make-believe world relate to the plot? I assume the make-believe world is the setting for the first segment. Is the goddess going to transform her imigination into reality for the rest of the world?

When the player completes a segment and has "fixed" a short-coming of the universe, should the fix apply to the entire universe or only for the race that the player is currently playing?

How will the goddess choose her agents? Does she search for beings that are especially sensitive to certain issues? Do they need to be facing one or more of the problems she is trying to correct? Or do they just need the capability to bring about the solution?

Other things that the goddess might want to fix: drug addiction, corrupt government, and boy bands.

-Sean

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quote:
Original post by Sean99
I like the goal of the game, but I''m confused on a few points. You said Thylacine is just imaging the world you described, so does this mean she is a girl living here in the real world. If so, how does her make-believe world relate to the plot? I assume the make-believe world is the setting for the first segment. Is the goddess going to transform her imigination into reality for the rest of the world?


Thylacine is a member of the alien race called the Wyverra. What she says about wyverns being related to "people" i.e. Wyverra is true. She has actually built the willow withe and yarn city in her back yard. She is imagining it''s history and the fact that she is queen of it. The goddess is going to use her imagination and utopian tendencies to transform reality.

quote:

When the player completes a segment and has "fixed" a short-coming of the universe, should the fix apply to the entire universe or only for the race that the player is currently playing?



The entire universe.

quote:

How will the goddess choose her agents? Does she search for beings that are especially sensitive to certain issues? Do they need to be facing one or more of the problems she is trying to correct? Or do they just need the capability to bring about the solution?



um, mainly the capability, but they have to see the problem as a problem otherwise they would not think of solutions.

quote:

Other things that the goddess might want to fix: drug addiction, corrupt government, and boy bands.
-Sean



lol boy bands The other two are good ideas.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Ah. ok, I think I see. She is a 14 yr old who wants to be a real wyvern ryder, but likes to pretend she''s a princess. Got it.

I''m going to stick to the suggestion of using different young female protagonists. Aim the game at the ''my pretty little pony'' target audience, and their parents. It''s a good market to aim for. It''s big and there isn''t a lot out there.

The first character is a bit sugary, and the overall goal of ''fixing the universe'' through a few isolated actions of individuals as some sort of symbolic gesture will hold more appeal with younger gamers. Older folks tend to be more cynical.

Let the 2nd character be a young tomboy/rebel, who wants to show that she is just as capable as the males. You could even throw in the racism in that one too. I see her as being a stereotypical street urchin.

As far as how to accomplish the objectives, that''s tough.

Making magic: Obviously the main character has to accomplish something magical. Like, Wyverns don''t exist anymore, and wyvern riders are only fairy tales, but the character summons/acquires a wyvern in the face of everyone telling her it was just make believe. Then as she soars over the crowd, they all see the wyvern, and believe. The specific quests to make it happen should also be symbolic and arbitrary since they only matter to the main character. Maybe a storybook formula that she tries to follow to ''call the wyvern''.

JSwing

(oh, and I was the AP too, just too lazy to login)

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