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Squidi

RFC: "RPG" inventory design idea

10 posts in this topic

I''ve been toying around with this idea for a while, and things never quite seem to click. I thought I''d post the idea and see if anyone could figure out that one piece I''m missing. Basically, the game is an RPG, but it takes place in cyberspace. Actually, can i call it that? Anyway, you don''t get equipment, but rather have a set number of memory cells. These cells can have programs loaded into them. The trick is, some programs don''t just fit into one cell. They also may be strange shapes, like an L or a U. Think something similar to the Diablo memory. You can drag around the programs all you want. Sort of a Tetris inventory system. Some programs interact with other programs, almost in a flow chart way. For instance, you might have a text viewer program which you can link to an encryption program so that you can view/write encrypted texts. A combat program which normally does this much damage can be linked with a modifier which causes it to be more effective. When in combat, the opposing player can damage your memory cells when using the right attacks. For the most part, these cells are not permanently damaged, and can be repaired with a Norton Utilities-like program. Depending on how damaged a cell is, and what part of the program the cell contains, different effects can happen. You can protect some memory cells by putting buffer cells around them which will absorb some of the attack. You entire interface for the world are programs loaded into the memory cells. The overhead view screen is just a program. In fact, you can even replace it with better versions that replace all the avatars with monkeys, or give you longer sight ranges. This program can be damaged too, and thus you are in danger of losing visuals. Anyway, there is something about this interface idea that keeps me coming back to it, yet I feel like I''m missing some important aspect. Something that would make the game unplayable.
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Hhmmm...difficult, it''s hard to put together a useable interface for the game idea you have, very easy to make it to complicated or too much. Should be simple and controlled only with the mouse or something similar. Have to think about this for a while.

Otherwise I just have to tell you that I really liked your idea, diffrent!! Looking forward to see you actually finished product.
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this is a cool idea. The interface where you set up the memory device could be in 3d. it would give the game more dimension and possibilaties. The memory cell at the beginnig could be a wire frame cube. and the programs could be tetris like shapes but on certain parts of the shapes the boxes that makeit up could also be wire frame, letting you connect two or more programs together. it would be like a tetris rpg
ill make a pic and post it later
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Actually, during class I refined the idea a bit. It is like my brain knows how it will finally end up, but won''t quite let me in on it all at once. It leaves clues. Kinda frustrating.

I don''t really think in 3D because I''ve never done any 3D programming. Who knows how many new game ideas I would come up with if I opened up that 3rd dimension...I can''t even keep up with the 4 billion I have now.

Anyway, the cyber deck (or something similar but not as corny sounding) has two parts: Data and Memory. The Data is similar to a Hard Drive in that it stores programs, files, and what-not. Memory is a set amount of square cells in a vaguely rectangular format (say 7x5).

Each program takes up from 1 to 9 memory cells, organized in a 3x3 block. The only thing is that they must connect, can''t have a 2-size with just corners taken. When you load up a program, you are allowed to place it in memory anywhere you want. You can even move it at a later date (You are the Memory Manager).

When the game starts (ie the deck "boots up") only the interface program begins.

In addition to programs, there are also "plug-in" modules that can be attached to a program. Certain programs only accept certain plug-is. For instance, a weapon program can accept Damage Modifier plug-ins that do stuff like "Damage + 1", or "if Damage is a prime number, damage = damage * 2" and strange things like that. Some plug-ins apply to different programs. An example is a "Range +1" plug-in. When you connect this plug in with the viewing system, you can see a little bit further. Connect it to a weapon and the distance on the weapon grows.

Some plug-ins have limited uses. One weapon might accept projectile plug-ins. You could add "20 laser shots", "5 plasma bullets", "13 fluffy bunnies". The limited use plug-ins can operate as ammo, or to limit really powerful programs.

Plug-ins can be any size or shape. The smaller and less useful a plug-in, the smaller the memory footprint. Large, powerful plug-ins may be very difficult to use because of the space issue. Plug-ins work by attaching themselves to any program touching it that allows that type of plugin. This means that several programs could share a single extension, if you sufficiantly managed your memory. But if two programs use limited use plug-ins, then they will get used up all that more often.

When two programs touch each other, they don''t necessarily work together, but they are connected. This means that if a virus is started then it will spread to any connected memory cells. You can protect important programs by isolating them from the others.

Some plug-ins are modifiers, and thus can be compounded. You could have a "range +1" and a "range +3" for a total of "range +4". Some plug-ins are upgrades in which only one extension of that type can be actively used at a time. This can be used for upgrade trees. You may start out with a simple one space attack, but you could upgrade it to be a missile weapon...OR you could upgrade it to break passwords on gates (bashing down doors, if you will).

The memory interface is really very simple. You just pick up a piece and move it around. You can use temp storage space (virtual memory) to hold a particularly large piece while you rearrange the others. But it can only hold one piece at a time. By right clicking on a piece, a small pop-up menu appears which allows you to do stuff like quit the program, activate upgrades and plug-ins.

So here is my new problem. I don''t want to make modifier plug-ins too easy to get. Someone could just grab a bunch of Damage+1''s and fill the memory cells with them, effectively becoming unstoppable quickly.

Since the idea is for a multiplayer MUD-like game (where players can buy their own homebases - another story for another time), I think one idea would be for the memory to just boot clean everytime the log in. Programs and other data files remain, but the modifiers are temporary (this session only type of stuff). They are either found, or given based on experience or something. Hmm....don''t know.

Maybe they should be really easy to find, and it is the limited size of the memory cells which prevent players from cheating too badly. By relying on a variety of programs, players can''t put everything towards combat or they may never make it past the first gate. So they need to create their own programs based on what their needs are at the time. In a multiplayer experience, groups of players could each focus on one goal (one player breaks codes, one player attacks, one player gathers information, one player could have data analyzing programs - essentially player classes, but self-imposed) and since there are multiple players, they can do that without suffering the repercussions a single player would.

Also, since the hard drive space would be limited also, they would need to pick and choose which sets of programs the bring along with them. I toyed with the idea of allowing players to upgrade to more memory or more HD space, but I think I like the idea of everyone having access to the same tools. Also, management of the memory can be somewhat timeconsuming (not much, but enough) so that doing it during a battle could be extremely hazardous. So you would have to load up the programs you need in preparation of what is about to go down.

Ultimately, the inventory is the trick to the game. Master the inventory and nothing in the game becomes impossible. The trick is fitting the right tools in the limited spaces, and knowing which upgrades to use when. There is still some strategy to breaking into a place, but ultimately, it comes down to having the right tool for the job at the right time.
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I'm telling you 3D, not because it is fashion right now, not because it make better games then 2D (becuse it doesn't), just because it will do your idea justice! The environment plug-ins, starting of by simple wireframe and then adding textures and so on. The actual "Cyber Desk" could stay in 2D and sort of float on top of the world, and maybe come to live when activated or something. A sort of organic feeling to a technical interface could be a good idea.

Have you read Neuromancer by William Gibson, should give you some ideas, or any of he's other books, or watch the film (Jonny that is) for design ideas.

I like all this component stuff you have going there, but don't make too many of then, it will make it a bit confusing. And of course save some for the sequal

I'll be back!


Edited by - Mr K on 2/22/00 10:34:02 AM
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This idea sounds like an extremly more complex and refined version of the materia in Final Fantasy 7. Where you could add support materia to magic materia and it would change the effect. Id like to see your finised idea.

Edited by - TWELVE on 2/22/00 12:58:15 PM
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The idea is still in the early stages. Once the idea is more fully formed, then I get to come up with the programs and plug-ins and stuff. Then I get to balance it. I have read Neuromancer (several times, in fact). Most of my ideas are based off of Shadowrun, though. I''ve never played the game, but I bought the Matrix Sourcebook, and it has just been great. Also, there was an lpMUD a while ago which had a text-based cyberspace, and it really impressed me...despite the fact that it could''ve been SO much cooler. It looked like this (hope this shows up right)

..............
......########
......#.......
.........@....
......#.....$$
......########
..............

Also, I plan on implementing it to the best of my abilities, assuming I don''t find some fatal flaw in the logic. I''m going to write a Java client/server application (the online part may prove to be too much, so I may keep it one player applet). As a 2D game, it is perfect. The graphics can be simple geometric shapes because of the abstraction of cyberspace. No drawing Orc''s noses too big, or giving them funny shaped feet.

But as a Java applet, 3D won''t really be possible. I wouldn''t mind 3D, but I just don''t have the know-how at the moment. If someone would like to try their own hands at a 3D version, I''d really like to see that. Make money off it even.

TWELVE:

I''ve never played FF7. Ok, I have, but I didn''t get very far. Just out of the big city. Never got to play with Materia that much. My idea is based indirectly off ABUSE by Crack.dom. Abuse has a level editor in which you assign behaviors to objects by linking them to other objects. For instance, you link a door to an area object, and when the hero walks into that area the door opens. Sort of a flow chart.

Well, then I started developing a system for designing dungeon traps using premade parts. Pressure Tile -> Gun -> Poison Arrows. The gun knows what to do when the tile gets pressed , and uses the poison arrows. You could link things together with AND and OR gates. 4 tiles -> AND gate -> door. The Door opens when all 4 tiles are pressed. The idea was sort of like a collectable card game. You pick up the different pieces, and it was up to you to fend off other players (in a capture-the-flag type game) by building traps. Since the traps can be modified anyway you want, players can''t just know which technique to use if they see a gun. The gun could shoot when you step on a tile, or when you walk in front of it, or a group of monsters could appear while you are trying to block the gun with a rock or something.

A lot of my better ideas (I believe) involve the LEGO approach. I give you the pieces, you make the space station. Provides a lot more variety for players than just "Here is a plasma gun...shoot someone".
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Yes I completly agree with your statment becuase of the lack of resoning :/ ?

Edited by - TWELVE on 2/22/00 9:00:46 PM
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Ok, if you''re planing to do it in Java, then skip 3D, it''s just to slow. I saw this final year project ones at a University, a 3D flight simulator in Java, well, it was playable, but still I could feel my grey hair coming out!!
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Nice idea for a game. One weapon could be a virus. You don''t know you''re hit but you see you''re taking damage. You have to do a virus scan to remove it. (make sure you have the right virus definitions!)

E:cb woof!
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