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FishEye18

Concept Theory: A PvP Player-to-Player Hivemind

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Hello, I'm new here, and mainly searching for opinions on something I have never been seen done before: A simulated hivemind usable in a Player versus Player game.

I have been mulling over this concept for the past few days, the idea having stemmed from my reading of a novel trilogy, Ack Ack Macaque. In the first book, the story plays with the technical concepts of "gelware" brains, and devices known as "soul catchers". The gelware is a form of soft computer, artificial neurons with immense processing power, capable of filling the gaps caused by extreme brain damage - and completely replacing the organic brain itself. The soul catchers are implants at the base of the skull that collect memories of a person's life, and can create a temporary personality simulation based on the memories collected after death, as a way for families to make final goodbys and sort out the legalities of wills and such.

In the second and third books, a "cult"/society known as the Gestalt, later a trans-timeline group with immense reach, has adapted the technology of implants and gelware to form a hivemind, in which they are connected to easily over a million other members. They are synced perfectly, able to see through each other's very eyes, other's memories, and also share all knowledge. In their role as an antagonist, they are an incredibly efficient and deadly fighting force - combining the benefits of all combatants working in sync with the shared skill of any and all military personnel, martial artists, etc. within their ranks. Described as fighting a multi-headed hydra, but without a singular body. Latter, they are revealed to work on projects with the same efficiency. Members who are not mechanics can work with several other Gestalt members on a single engine very quickly, all of them drawing on the combined mechanical and engineering knowledge of the entire hivemind. The Gestalt do have a leader, but they may choose to direct entire operations with thousands of Gestalt members involved, or simply allow the hive to run on near-instant debate and democracy. When they are no longer antagonists in the trilogy, it is revealed that the hivemind in its natural state is akin to a blend of an academic and emotional utopia, with all knowledge shared and deep emotional support and caring; people in the hive may often call themselves "we" instead of "I", but they describe a tightly knit family they can depend upon in almost any situation.

 

I have become fascinated with the idea of creating a hivemind similar to the Gestalt that is not NPCs, but the players themselves. Clearly we cannot actually link their brains, but we can create a simulation consisting of UIs and in game interactions. The only problem is exactly how. So far, my ideas have been limited to what amounts to a highly detailed minimap and HUD that filters information based on distance from players, grouping clusters of players into flexible squads, etc. While I cannot share memories or the like, players could switch their camera's view to another player to see what they see.

The problem I am currently hooked on is how do I simulate something like this without blinding the screen with indicators and such, whilst still creating something that is more than just a super detailed minimap. (And past experience in everything from World of Warships to Armored Warfare indicates there are very few players who keep tabs on the minimaps available.)

 

My current idea for how to pull this off, in brief: (Rule of thumb: All of this requires you be in the same hive.)

  • When a player sees a hostile, all members of the player's hive will be able to see its exact location.
  • When a player dies, the hive knows.
  • When a player dies whilst engaging a hostile beforehand, the hive will know the last known spot of the hostile for a short time.
  • Players may see the view of other players in their hive.
  • Within a short "squad distance", players can see a highlight of others through everything, including highlights of hostiles that are currently seen by another member of the hive. Distance indicators are also used to help determine exact position.
  • Should a player receive certain debuffs, they can use others to compensate. For example, if a player is blinded, he can see through the eyes of his nearest ally.
  • Players can share skills, such as repairing vehicles. If a skill set requires a tool (like a welding torch), they cannot use the skill if they don't have the tool.
  • Players using weapons such as artillery can use the vision of their allies for precise aiming.
  • If the hive technology is similar lore-wise, a player could attempt to hack into the enemy hivemind and spy on it, but must be aware it is a two way street and may have to defend against counter hacking or attempts by the enemy hive members to remove the player from their hivemind.
  • A new kind of skill sets could be created for balancing purposes that are not transferable or are weaker. Ie: martial art skills could be classified as "muscle memory", thus the player may know the skill but never use it as effectively as someone who has the skill in their muscle memory.
    • IE: The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart skill has a vastly higher success rate when in muscle memory, otherwise it is very likely to fail.

 

I am curious about other theories on how to pull off a player to player hivemind. Right now I am rather skeptical of even my own idea working at all. If it works, it can become a keystone that effects the design of everything around it as players are given far more information than they normally have, furthered by the ability to use skills owned by other players.

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In RTS & MOBA, shared vision is already standard.

In FPS,  where the player has no camera-control, a quickbutton to switch perspective could be feasible.

Sharing of skills isn't realy a great concept, since it takes away the individuality of team-members, though maybe some people will like it.

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