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HighTreason

Opinions on my game features

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I was just recently reading that it would be a good idea to write a list of the core game features I am planning to implement and offer them up for critique by other game designers. Therefore, here they are. Any thoughts you have would be great to hear.

Core Statement: This game is a multi-player life simulator set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Features:
--In-depth character customization

--Your character has his/her own needs, wants, and inherent attributes

--Through game play, discover your character's unique strengths and weaknesses which affect your skills

--Claim an abandoned house in the world as your home and customize it.

--Depending on how you deal with NPC's, they can become good friends, lifetime enemies, or even your spouse.

--Mate, raise a family, grow old and pass control on to the next generation. or die trying... You only live ONCE!

--Children inherit the traits of their parents and can be trained in various skills.

--Craft, scavenge, and fight to survive and protect your family

--Choose a faction in the on-going fight and complete opposed missions to help your side.

Keep in mind, of course, that these are not instructions on how to build the game, but just a list of features as one would find on the back of a game box.

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Number one obvious thing people are going to want to do is play as two characters they can breed together, unless only NPCs can be spouses.  Hopefully that will be supported, instead of the game trying to discourage it.  I'm also really doubting whether I'd want to play through more than 2 generations, because repeating content is boring.

 

Not personally interested in an on-going fight between factions, unless the factions have some real difference in philosophy between them that adds a layer to a character's identity.

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Currently you just have a loose list of game features.

It does in fact say it is a features list in the OP.  Twice, actually, lol. ;)

Edited by sunandshadow

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Currently you just have a loose list of game features.

It does in fact say it is a features list in the OP.  Twice, actually, lol. ;)

 

After posting it, I saw it too and refined my post. In short: I would wish more meat to discuss such a topic.

 

I could imagine a roguelike game, a text adventure, a browser game, a first person game , a rts game which would meet all this features, still all would play in a different way. smile.png

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@Ashaman: I assure you I have an enormous text document full of notes and specifics about how the systems are going to work. (I am a software developer and am coding this myself so I do mean VERY specific in a lot of cases) I am in the process of turning that into a more readable design document, and this is the first step in that. Right now, just looking for feedback on the general features.

 

This is a 3rd person 3D game being made using the Esenthel engine.

 

@sunandshadow: Thanks for the response. I have considered allowing player characters to join each other's households and mate with each other, but you have brought up an interesting issue. Right now I am planning on making only one character available per account and making accounts cost a little bit of money to create (like five or ten dollars) to discourage people from creating alternate accounts, but of course some people will just pay it and get alternate accounts anyway or justfind a way to use their friend's account that they aren't using to create ideal mates and try to breed super-humans or something. There are a couple ways I could deal with this, I guess. I could disallow mating between player characters, but I don't really like that option. Or I could remove character customization completely and when the player chooses to create a character, everything is just random, sex, appearance, attributes, everything. and make characters unable to be deleted, so they can't just sit there making new characters and deleting them until they get one they like (even though it wouldn't be that easy anyway since stats are never shown numerically to the player and instead discovered through game play.) This isn't a new idea. I have considered this approach before. After all, in real life you don't get to choose your sex or skin color or anything. I think now I am leaning more toward the completely randomized characters approach to avoid character breeding. Of course you can still change your clothes and hairstyle and whatnot through in-game means. Thanks for giving me things to consider.

 

Next, this game is really sandboxy, so the content is really what you make it. There are no levels. No classes. There are skills but if you raise your children right, they have the skills you want them to have before you take them over. So I am not planning on there being a lot of repeated content. What really matters is your family's accumulated resources and influence and relationships which can all pass down through the generations, so people always feel like they are progressing forward.

 

Lastly, the faction fighting aspect is an optional aspect. It is completely possible to play the game and not take part. Your family can just be a neutral party trying to survive. However, for people who want some more theme park aspects and PvP, they can join up with one of the factions which will give them missions and perhaps present more of a directed story.

 

Thanks for the comments so far folks. Keep em coming :-)

Edited by HighTreason

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Players generally like selective breeding as gameplay in games ranging from the Sims series to the Pokemon and Monster Rancher series(es), and many virtual pet sites in between.  I'm confused why you wouldn't want players to do that, particularly since a 3rd person sandbox game is going to appeal to a similar audience segment as sim and pet games.  Character customization is a huge selling point with almost all MMOs and had recently been spreading even into single player RPGs and FPSes due to high demand from players.  I don't know very many people who would be interested in playing a game as a character with a random appearance.  In general MMO players are looking to escape into a virtual world, not looking for a "realistic" world.  Who is your target audience that you expect to love this intersection of design choices???

Edited by sunandshadow

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I guess these are the things that really turn me off to the idea of allowing players to breed characters. Maybe you can offer me some suggestions on how to fix these problems :-)

 

1. Min-maxers - Those people who would figure out a way to breed a super-being of some sort that makes the game not fun for anyone playing with him. If it were a single player game, I wouldn't care so much if people want to ruin their own fun, but in a multi-player environment, min-maxing destroys the game.

2. A large part of the game play is starting and maintaining your family. You have to find someone you get along with and raise kids with them throughout which there will likely be disagreements and challenges, and keep everyone in the family happy despite the challenging world you are faced with. If you can just create a perfect partner out of thin air, that ruins an enormous part of the game.

 

I guess my target audience is initially me :-) I am creating a game I would love playing and hope other people will feel the same? I hope so anyway. But I also do care about what other people think, which is why I posted this to get opinions. So If you can think of a way to have it both ways, I would love to hear your ideas. After all, I would like as many people as possible to enjoy the game.

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I guess these are the things that really turn me off to the idea of allowing players to breed characters. Maybe you can offer me some suggestions on how to fix these problems :-)

 

1. Min-maxers - Those people who would figure out a way to breed a super-being of some sort that makes the game not fun for anyone playing with him. If it were a single player game, I wouldn't care so much if people want to ruin their own fun, but in a multi-player environment, min-maxing destroys the game.

2. A large part of the game play is starting and maintaining your family. You have to find someone you get along with and raise kids with them throughout which there will likely be disagreements and challenges, and keep everyone in the family happy despite the challenging world you are faced with. If you can just create a perfect partner out of thin air, that ruins an enormous part of the game.

 

I guess my target audience is initially me :-) I am creating a game I would love playing and hope other people will feel the same? I hope so anyway. But I also do care about what other people think, which is why I posted this to get opinions. So If you can think of a way to have it both ways, I would love to hear your ideas. After all, I would like as many people as possible to enjoy the game.

Fixes for 1:

A. Give all newborn the characters the same stats, but make only appearance be inherited.

B. Start player characters with 80% of perfect stats or higher, such that a perfectly statted offspring is both a reasonable breeding goal that doesn't require months of grinding and not ridiculously overpowered compared to a newly created character.

 

Fixes for 2: If you're actually requiring that two people cooperate to breed, I personally would opt not to play the game for that reason alone. I hate, loath, and detest mandatory group gameplay.  I'd faaaar prefer breeding to require an NPC partner, because then people who want to do group play will still have other opportunities for that, and would most likely prefer them to be combat-related anyway.  Almost everyone likes to have a little private territory in an MMO; even the most extroverted players have good reason to get nervous if you ask them to let another player inside their home, where they could theoretically kill off or steal all your character's descendents, which you've set up to be one of the most important resources in the game?  Not to mention that they could probably steal or destroy stuff in your house, where you probably have collected items that function like your memory of what you've accomplished in the game... Stranger danger, man.  Do not want.

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I'll keep kicking around ideas for solutions to number one. Indeed, I don't want a character with perfect stats to even be able to exist and it won't be actually because the genetics system as designed now always creates balanced characters. For example, let's say 100 stat points are distributed among the stats that each have a value between 50-100. But that still leaves the possibility for someone to purposely breed a character that has ultra high strength (for example) at the expense of all other stats, which is pretty much the definition of min-maxing. I'll keep thinking about it.

 

As for Number two, you absolutely will not be required to mate with another actual player. I am considering making it possible to mate with another player, but that's not guaranteed. Most unions would be with NPC's. It would be a very dangerous proposition indeed to mate with another player. You'd better really really trust them, like be a real life friend or something.

 

But what I'm talking about is that NPC's will have traits that determine their personalities, wants, and desires, which may cause conflict with player character's personality, wants and desires and dealing with that is a major aspect of the game. Allowing players to mate with their own alt is basically like letting them mate with themselves. There's no conflict because they always agree on everything. i want to be sure to avoid that.

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