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DvDmanDT

Need ideas for multiplayer "sim/theme <whatever>" game

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DvDmanDT    1941
Hello everyone!

For a while now, I've been wanting to create some form of multiplayer Theme Park/Rollercoaster Tycoon style game, but in another setting. I've played lots of RcT2 myself and I've been very entertained by it. I've played mostly the sandbox style maps without money and barely any challenges. My problem here is that it's only fun for so long, mostly since I cannot really share the expreience with anyone. So therefore I'm looking at creating a multiplayer game with a similar style, where 2-4 players or so would cooperate to create their dream <city/theme park/whatever>. Maybe a space station or some form of space colony would be the setting.

I want to create a game though, not just a simulation. RcT and TP have victory conditions/challenges/goals, but I always though they did more to hold the games back than to improve them. For example, the money/cost element pimarily meant lots of waiting IMO. I imagine this would be an even bigger problem in MP, unless the players had their own wallets, which I pretty much want to avoid.

Therefore I was thinking about the space colony setting. I think there's lots of room for more implied challenges, such as placing a desirable resource behind some obstacle.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has ideas. Game elements, challenges, technologies, stories, settings ..? The idea is in a very early stage so I'm open for pretty much anything.

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Tiblanc    560
Do you want the players to be in a fully cooperative setting or do you want a mix between cooperation and competition? M.U.L.E. is a good example of the latter. Players cooperate to get the colony up and running, but the real goal is to be richer than the other players.

For a fully cooperative game, you could give each player a role : Builder, Researcher, Defense, Population Management, etc. Their available resources would be split(the army can't research), but still shared because one soldier means you have one less researcher. Should make a decent game with elements from defense games where each day/week a wave of aliens tries to overrun the colony.

For a cooperative-competitive game, you could have separate wallets and use economic forces to split the resources between the players. For example, one player hires the other to defend his part of the colony. Since a defense setting would lead to the destruction of the colony, the game could be about expanding until the planet is conquered. Players can then build other cities and trade agreements can form between players to overcome their weaknesses.

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DvDmanDT    1941
I want it to be a fully cooperative game. Think something among the lines of two persons controlling a single nation or whatever in an RTS game. I _think_ I want to give all players full control over the colony. On the other hand, maybe some form of player avatar could be present with special abilites. I am however quite sure I want a single shared colony. If I am to create separate colonies for each player, I want them to be so highly dependant on eachother that it wouldn't be competitive anyway. Something I want to avoid is one player getting some form of advantage that's nearly impossible for the other players to catch up with. For example, in coop Tower Defense games, if one player manages to kill something like one or two enemies more than another player, he'll get more gold and can buy more/better towers than the other players. That way, he'll kill even more enemies, and in a few levels, there's just no way for the other players to get back in the game. Another thing I want to avoid is individual leveling since I've seen so many games become some form of challenge of who can level up fastest..

The primary game element of this would be the shared building experience. To create something unique and big together with your friends.

That said, things like players having different roles and responsibilites is a possiblity. Maybe the colony is run by a board of X members which the players would assign (each player might get to assign Y members). The players could then control these characters and their actions. Each character could have different sets of skills.. I do NOT want to turn it into a xp farming competition though. Perhaps the skills would be locked to the starting values, or perhaps they would all level up at the same time at some major game events..?

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AngleWyrm    554
Something that comes up in multiplayer games of Dwarf Fortress, where each player takes control of the fort for a year. The variance in skill and differing objectives of the players often causes a game breakdown. Experienced players find themselves cleaning up the mess after an inexperienced player makes noob mistakes. And some players set out to make the next player's game a living hell, as a form of entertainment.

So in a game with multiple team mates, it should be possible to quickly see the quality of play of team mates, and adjust if they are noobs or hostile players.

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DvDmanDT    1941
I imagine a single game lasting for something like 20-50 hours of play time, so it would be more of a LAN game which you would play with one or two friends over several days rather than some form of one-hour game where you browse through some list of games on a match-making service and just join one for a litte while. Therefore I don't really think the 'bad teammate' is that much of a problem.

Perhaps the game would identify areas that could use some work and create a list of issues or whatever. In a theme park creation game, maybe that would translate to "your visitors are complaining about the lack of a proper water attraction" or "your customers are complaining about the lack of variation in your food offerings". Each player would pick an issue and try to solve it..?

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