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About Wai

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  1. In general the center is stronger because it is attacked the least, which makes that area the most technologically advanced. All the highest level research facilities and production facilities are there. The center can traditionally produce the most weapons fastest.   The outskirt is weaker because it is harassed. The change in control make them less stable, thus less advanced and less productive. The technologies and weapons from the core also take time to get distributed to the outskirt.     From your description, I have a concern that since the shape of your world is a sphere and the enemy can basically attack from any angle. If the game is very much like tower defense (such that the player cannot relocate the weapons, the situation might end up making the player repeat building the same kind of structure against all angles. It might get tedious doing so. In 2D tower defense that repeat could be bad. In 3D that could be worse.
  2.   Back story: Sealed inside the stone was the raw form of luck, which governed the outcome of all events meant to be random. Before the stone was destroyed, the person that controls the stone controls luck. When the stone was destroyed, luck itself become broken. Every random event type retains the same outcome. From that day on, every time a coin is flipped, it will always land on its tail.     Game title: Tail's End     Storyline:   The main character used to be a determined young hunter making an honest living with his family. But lately his luck seemed to be stuck at the bad side. The bow hunting skill that he relied on had vanished. With damage so low that he could hunt nothing but squirrels, he found no option but to find another career in town.   On the way to town, he chased away some bullies by looking badass with bow and arrow, and saved a young traveling fortune teller. As a reward of his help, she offered to give him a free fortune-telling and drew a tarot card which turned out to be the Hero card, assuring him that with the right attitude, he will overcome the challenge and his good deeds will be recognized. With that, the Hero decided to treat her for dinner and they went to a tavern.    At the tavern, they encountered a person making a commotion proclaiming the end of the world, as evident by accounts of non-stop bad weather in some regions and hens not laying eggs, citing the rumor that the legions had destroyed a sacred artifact of the gods in the mountains, leading to the end of the world. Refusing to calm down, the man challenged the annoyed people to bet that a coin flip would always land on its tail as the irrefutable proof that the world was ****ed. Instead of feeling alarmed, the people kicked the man out after losing the bet multiple times, blaming him for his sorcery.   The Hero went out to help the man because something he said reminded him of his vanished archery skill.     Story direction:   The Hero decides to journey to where the artifact was destroyed to find out the truth about the situation. On the way there, he would have to fight naturally existing monsters while adopting a new set of skills. He will encounter other people affected by the lack of luck, and find creative ways to mitigate the effects. He will also discover the fragments of the artifact, and their properties to partially determine the outcome of events. As the investigation continues, he identifies the option to collect all fragments so that outcomes can be re-determined; the option to piece the fragments back to bring back luck; and the option to take advantage of the broken luck to hide the fragments forever, but not before making sure that the deterministic world would not run itself to an end.     Gameplay:   The skill affinity and effects of the each character is randomly determined once at the beginning and is stuck there. The same goes for all random events in the game, until the Hero collects a fragment that would allow the Hero choose the outcome or an random event. One of the enemies that the Hero must overcome is one that can always do critical hit.
  3. Ideas for a playable book:   1. A book as a magical storage device. The magic book allows the player to store something on each page. The adventurer can use it to store over-sized equipment, a stash of candies, a heavily-wounded friend, a wandering ghost, a fireball, a spell someone else cast, etc... You could decide whether each page is single-use or reusable.   2. A book as a training manual. When the adventurer is at a town, the adventurer buy skills and put them in the book. The number of pages used depends on the complexity of the skill and the adventurer's affinity to the skill. As the adventurer gains EXP, the EXP is assigned to the skills. When the adventurer assigned enough EXP to a skill, the adventurer becomes proficient at the skill and no longer need the corresponding pages. The main effect of this mechanism is that the player needs to choose what skills to learn before leaving town, and the character could run out of skills to spend EXP in a long expedition.   3. A book as a teleport device. As the adventurer visits different towns and portals, the adventurer can bind it to a page.   4. A book as a portal to closed realms. The adventurer can revisit that closed realm as many time as he wants to investigate something.   5. A book as a combat simulation device. The adventure can use the pages to capture environments and monsters and have mock battles.   6. A book as a talking companion. It reminds the adventurer about the strengths and weakness of the area and monsters.   7. A book as a map of quest givers and what each quest giver wants.   8. A book as a strictly monster-trapping (and releasing) device.**     ** Example story about 8:   The hunter is something like an exorcist. He goes around investigating and trapping demons occupying people's bodies using a special book that is "out-of-print". There are two particularly interesting constraints about this job:   1) He cannot let people know that he has the book because the book has many powerful demons trapped inside. It cannot fall into wrong hands. He cannot let people he helps know how he got rid of the demons. To be safe, most of the time he cannot let those people know that he was the one who did it.   2) The book can get full, and he needs to find people that can actually kill the demons because he either can't kill any demons, or that he can't kill them alone. But the first constraint still applies. He cannot let the person who might help him kill a demon know that he has the book, because the legend has it that one of the demons trapped in the book was actually an angel who can resurrect dead people, and holds the key that could open the gate to "heaven" (as of now, nobody can go to heaven because the gate is locked, everyone just dies or turn into a demon). When the main character got the book, many pages already had demons trapped inside. The character does not know what exact demon is trapped in those pages, he only knows about the ones that he trapped himself.   To know what demon is trapped in one of those pages before his time, he has two choices:   a) Enter the page by himself. Once he is in the page, he could exit quite easily before he is found by the demon(s). If he is found by the demon he might get killed and the book might be found by someone else. He suspects that this might be what happened to the last owner of the book.   b) Release the demon(s) trapped in a page to the real world, and be prepared to fight it or trap it again. The risk here is that he does not know how many demons are trapped in each of those unknown pages. They could all be released at once. They could kill him and release the rest of the demons.   It is up to the player to decide which is the better method to investigate.
  4. It might be helpful to brainstorm by sections.   Section 1: "Normal" adventure/survival/camping gear This section depends how much stuff people would need to carry just to make a trip. This includes money objects of various kinds that the hunter would need in different regions.   Section 2: Monster detection gear Stuff that the hunter uses to locate/track/uncover monsters. Consider whether monsters would hide, or do they just show up? Do they have lairs? are the lairs hidden? Can normal people see the monsters? What does the hunter have that allows him to see them or know where they are? Do monsters need to be summoned? Are there items required to open gates to lairs/crypts?   Section 3: Monster trapping gear Stuff used to trap or set up traps for monsters. Does the hunter need to capture monsters? How would he subdue the monster and bring it back? Does the hunter need to stalk the monster and wait for it to appear? Can the hunter normally defeat a monster in combat? If not, how does he weaken the monster before a fight? How many monsters would be too many for the hunter to fight at once?   Section 4: Defensive gear Stuff that protects the hunter during a fight. How do the monsters attack? What can block or weaken monster attacks? What can help the hunter escape if there are too many monsters to fight?   Section 5: Assault gear Stuff the hunter uses to attack during combat. What weapons does the hunter use? Is the weapon the same kind that could be used against human? Is the weapon unique? Did the hunter design it himself? Do all hunters so similar weapons that distinguish them from normal warriors? Does the weapon designed to fight against one monster, or a group of them? Does the weapon use ammo?   Section 6: Communication gear Stuff the hunter uses to communicate with other hunters, his boss, demons, or other factions, etc. What is the social status of hunters? Do they have special privileges? Do they need to carry licenses? Are hunters competitors? Do hunters have factions? Do hunters kill one another? How does a hunter know if another hunter is in his faction?   Section 7: Keepsakes Stuff that the hunter keeps around for spiritual or emotional reasons.   Section 8: Loots/trophies Stuff that the hunter is meant to collect from the adventure/monsters.   Section 9: Pets Pets/horses/companions or other interactive beings that go with the hunter.
  5. Wai

    Lore in CCG

    I think this question is too open.   If you consider a game, its players, and a set of objectives, you can discuss the effect of a design change on the objectives. A change can correspond to a change in one game component or a group of components. The overall effect of a change is not necessarily the sum of the effects when each component is changed independently. This means that design changes is not necessarily analyzable by superposition.   'Importance' is an attribute of a component that tries to generalize its impact to the design. To talk about importance correctly, you will need to first know whether the impact of each component is independent (which is typically false), and if they are not independent, you need to restrict your evaluation to a set of foreseeable change sets.   Without defining these parameters, the answer you would get could unnecessarily restrict your design within existing assumptions and experience.   Examples of well-posed questions:   1. If Magic the Gathering has no lore, how would it affect your acceptance or involvement with the game? (Survey type question) 2. If Magic the Gathering has no lore, what else could the game add that would bring you back to the same level of acceptance or involvement? (Design type question) 3. How much resource does it take for you to complete the lore? How much resource does it take for you to complete that alternate feature? (Capability type question)
  6. Wai

    Battle Angel Valerie

    Lust is the emotion to act to gain sensational pleasure. In our design, this included sexual urge, the urge to taste, and other urges for physical thrill. This emotion, deeply rooted in physiology, was probably the one of the earliest emotions of being alive.   In the life data, lust was the most suppressed emotion. The suppression appeared necessary for civilized behaviors. Due to the discrepancy caused by that suppression, when we were making the game, we asked whether the characters had knowledge if they were in a civilized world. Our client’s response, was to inference the true level, to make the characters closer to their true selves.   The combat archetype paralleled the stages of attraction, addiction, and death by overdose in real life. At low level, the archetype would take the form of a lymph or a beast master, whose presence would disarm and lure the opponent toward them. At middle level, the archetype would get a companion monster, which was a dealing agent of the sensational pleasure. The monster varied from plants, to golems, to ride-able beasts depending on the sensation type. At high level, the monster would get an arena transformation aura that would help it deal pleasure to the area and kill those that could not withstand the dosage.     “This way, please.”   Claudia said and gestured the way for Kate and me, who for a moment were lost in the vast collections of taxidermied predatory animals and medieval arms exhibited at the client’s residence, which, as a castle carved in a mountain in the heart of an alpine forest, was an extraordinary sight in its own right.   Claudia, whose identity was only known to Kate, was the contact person when we were developing the game for the client.  She led us through a long corridor with tall windows overlooking the alpine treetops. The refreshing sight was in drastic contrast with the previous hall we had just passed.   The double doors at the end of the corridor opened to the client’s bed chamber. As Claudia had explained to us, the client had a hereditary illness that eroded his nervous system. He had been paralyzed for more than ten years. In this past year, his condition had rapidly worsened, affecting his ability to communicate even with the interfaces attached to his body. By now, he had lost all of his physical sensations and muscle control. If not for the interfaces that were implant to his brain, he would have no way to communicate with us at all.   The arrangement and color of the life-sustaining equipment reminded me of attendants kneeling around the death bed of a king. An aura of nobility and dignity seemed to transcend the fragility of the life. Through a speaker, the client greeted Kate and me. He expressed his sadness to hear the tragedies about the other developers.   “Thanks to your work, I could continue living in a virtual world. I could not express enough my gratitude to you and your fellow developers.” The client said.   The option of copying one’s mental workings had been achieved for a couple decades. Although the cost was prohibiting for people of normal status, I could imagine that our client could afford such option. Technically, such option would not prevent one’s death. The original person would still die, but the copy would live on. The life extension companies were careful not point out this detail. Philosophically, it was the difference between the desire to survive for one’s self, and the desire to survive for others.   “Could you tell us about the virtual world you live in now?” Kate asked.   Although Kate identified Claudia and requested a visit, she did not go as an agent of the FBI. The case for the mysterious deaths had been closed because there was no evidence of crime. The hypotheses we made and my dreams of the Gothic town amounted to nothing more than speculations and imaginations. Full body scanning of Jeremy and me had revealed no foreign objects or implants that could have killed him, or could kill me. With the chain of mysterious deaths stopped after the death of Jeremy, there were no further leads. This visit might be our last chance to get any new clue.   “Oh the virtual world. It has a model of this castle and other places interesting to me. It is populated by models of people I knew once.” The client said, “The world itself is quite similar to the real world with the exception that abilities and appearances depend on the emotions of the individuals. That exception was the part I requested.”   The client paused for a moment, then asked:   “Have you ever wondered how humanity would have evolved if natural selection is not based on physical survival but the moral standing of the individuals?”   “Do you mean karma?” Kate asked.   Karma was the last topic that Jeremy and I discussed the night he died. I had recounted that conversion for her.   “There are several schools of thoughts about karma, but I think there is a difference between karma and the concept I have,” the client said, “The concept of karma focuses on the consequence of actions. A person is rewarded after performing a good deed, but not empowered to do so at the moment of action.  That is a fundamental difference between the two.”   Upon hearing the client pointing out this difference, I could see the immediate relation between his concept and the mechanics we developed.   “In the real world, the skill sets and attributes of a person is the result of resource and preparation.” The client explained:   “The more resource and preparation a person has, the stronger and more survivable that person could become. In this equation, morality is not determining factor. A stronger person has better chance to gather more resources, forming a cycle based on pragmatism instead of moral. From pragmatism derived the practices of dominance, control, and manipulation. The result is a world of wasteful contests that pits one against another, relegating morality as a secondary consideration after self-survival.   “Imposing laws and trying to maintain civility against this natural reality is as tiresome and never-ending as bailing water out of a leaky boat. The root of the problem is the disconnection between intention and empowerment. The solution is not to impose laws to define how people should behave, but to rewrite the laws of nature to empower intentions so that the moral standing determines the skills and attributes of a person.”   ~ End of Chapter 7 ~
  7. I also would not call this a game. I think something like this is called an interactive experience.   Problem with the story:   In terms of presenting the journey of forgiveness. I think this story failed.   While reading the story, I did not get any strong sense that the main character held a grudge on anyone. The father was not there for her birthday but she somewhat expected it. When she described her feeling this way...   "Why am I even surprised?... So I probably shouldn't be getting my hopes up about a weekend!"   ... the main character had already internally forgiven the father. Otherwise there would be no surprise or volition to have hope. The feeling that the story describes does not come from someone with a deep emotion that needs to be really healed by forgiveness. I do not sense an emotional journey toward any more forgiveness that the main character didn't already have at the beginning of the story.   When person A does not forgive person B, the emotional antagonism continue to manifests when person B had apologized for the initial incident and had done everything to prevent future occurrence, and is not showing any sign of offending it again.   If a child does not forgive a father (for some reason), a type of situation you can use to display that emotion is to write the story from the eye of the father struggling to be at the child's birthday and succeed at being on time, just to have the child still reject him. Then the viewer would sense that the child does not forgive the dad. After that, you can switch the perspective to the child and start her journey of reaching forgiveness.     Problem with the presentation style:   [spoiler]I followed the path to the "Park" first. The moment I see an image, I became scared of your creation because the way you tell the story is one of the ways to deliver horror in an interactive experience. I didn't know what your master thesis was, I didn't know whether you were a game development major or a psychology major. I didn't know what to expect.   Some of the presentation elements you used that I found associated with staging a 'horror' experience include:   1. Black background and white text. When you do this and the main character is a child, I feel a sense of deception. I feel that the narrator, while presented as a child, has something abnormal or dark about it. As if you are giving me a foreshadow that I will discover something gory.   2. A photograph (The see-saw picture). An actual, every day picture carries a lot more "noise" than a typical CGI image. When I see an actual picture in this setting, I start looking for hidden messages in the picture. You told us it was a game, and I did not know what the objective of the game was. If I see a picture I would assume that it is part of the game and I am supposed to notice something about it. While that picture is somewhat in mosaic, it raised my alert level that the genre of the game could be a detective game, a murder mystery, or horror.   3. A black and white photo, and there were text on the back introducing many characters. When I approach this as a gamer and you add this much information without telling me the objective, I do not expect that the new characters are suspects but victims. To me the story now includes the possibility that the main character was a serial killer.   4. A child's drawing shown in an austere environment. For that that is associated with the asylum. That further supported that genre might be psychological horror. Perhaps something happened and turned the child into a killer. There was the possibility that you show that picture for the sake of contrast.   5. "Lake house" mentioned in a black background, and mentioning that the main character had not been there for a long time. Lakes are common sites for horror stories. Perhaps the main character did something there and now had a split personality. (Note that, since I was approaching your story expecting that it is a game, I would assume that every piece of information you disclose has a purpose, and I am supposed to piece them together and figure out what it is all about. You also mentioned that the game was about exploration, so I was expecting that I would need to go to the lake house to figure out the mystery. By the dark theme and the fact that the main character was alone, and every message was trying to remind the main character to be happy, I was expecting the main character to have a suppressed depression with a mature reason (such as back when she was a child at the lake house, a killer came and to attack but she didn't do anything to stop it, or that she was the killer.)   As I continued with your presentation, I felt that it was dragging on without getting to the part where the main character start to explore. Then the story just ended with the revelation that the mother had passed away for some time.[/spoiler]
  8. Wai

    How to invent names (theory)?

    The fundamental function of naming is to identify.   Naming is a taxonomic scheme that tries to uniquely identify each entity while also indicating any important group that the entity belongs.     Fundamental considerations:     1. Is the naming systematic or is it based on someone's preference?   Typically a name is given according to a something distinguish about the entity itself, or in the eye of the naming entity. In a systematic naming scheme, the outcome is the same regardless of the naming entity. Examples include assigning a new memory address in a program, assigning the ID of an inmate, or naming each child by the order they were born, or by the month the child is born. In a fantasy world with something like astrology, names might be given according to a detailed astrological birth signature, and names of places might be given by its magical ley line signature. For systematic naming to exist, the entity doing the naming must have access to or know the system. If the signature is not something that a normal person could see, the culture might reserve naming for someone who can see it, such as the high priest. In that case, newborns, and newly discovered lands were brought to the high priest to be given a name, that either shows the astrological signature of the entity, or be enchanted with a name different from the natural signature that is meant to counter the curses from the astrological signature. Priests of different levels vary in their skills to see the astrological signature and to counter the curses. As a result, while there is a system, different priest might end up given different names for the same entity.     2. Does the culture group its entities by important groups?   In programming, this type of grouping includes namespaces. Namespaces emerge because of naming conflict. The fact that the surname is inherited can be considered part of the systematic naming scheme. For this section, the focus is on why a certain name is chosen to be that inherited part. For human, the most typical grouping is by tribal identity. The tribal identity was important because people could not survive alone, it took a tribe to provide the necessary robustness to handle the harshness of nature and from other hostile tribes. For a strong tribe, the tribal name served as a tool to deter attacks or to suppress resistance. In a fantasy world, this type of naming is a result of the dynamics among the people. If tribal identity or lineage is not important or relevant in the fantasy world, to identify what is important, one could first consider who is doing the name and what is important to that person. In a fantasy world where entities have very long lives across eras, that group name might take the name of the era. A variation of this is to name entities that belong to the same group by objects that belong to the same group, such as naming all children by names of animals or flowers.     3. Does the name change throughout the life of the entity?   Sometimes a new name is not needed until there is a naming conflict. At that point, the typical resolution is to append by an observable characteristic, in a way that would not offend either entity. At first, the additional part might be the family name. As human become more populous and naming conflict occurs more often, those who want to avoid naming conflict, would name by what they like, or hope the child would grow into. In this section, the focus in on a culture that updates a person's name as they grow or achieve (in addition to any title they get). A newborn might be given a child name, then when they become an adult, or when they reach a certain significant moment, they are given, or give themselves another name. Other than becoming an adult, some other events that would cause name change include conquering new land, getting married, and dying. In a fantasy world where individuals try to fill vacant celestial position to maintain the balance of the world, an individual may get a new name when they attain the role.       Consideration examples:   A: Naming a person   Is there an existing system? Yes, the surname is inherited. For the given name, since the child is born from a noble family, it is expected to have a unique and poetic name that is different from the generic ones given by commoners.   Is there an important group? No, this is the first only child the family would have. There is no particular naming pattern for this child, but the name should use words that the commoners could understand and resonate with.   Is the name expected to change? No, the name is not meant to be changed. It carries the wishes of the parents.     B: Naming a country   Is there an existing system? Yes, the country name has two parts. One part identifies the form of government. The other part is based on the traditional name of that land. Having these   Is there an important group? Yes. The part that identifies the form of government follows one of these: Republic, Federation, or Kingdom.   Is the name expected to change? Yes, if the form of government changes.     C: Naming a location   Is there an existing system? Yes, we name a location first by something significant that the location has. If there are more than one location that has it, they we distinguish them by the direction from our the nearest settlement.   Is there an important group? Yes, if the location has an ancient ruins, we add a suffix that means "ruins" to the location. Ruins are powerful locations that could wreak havoc to humanity if not properly guarded by priests. We also have different prefix for ruins of different mana affinity, demon types, and power level.   Is the name expected to change? Yes, the location name would change when we discover that it has a ruins, and when a ruins becomes contained. When it is contained, we change the suffix to "shrine" to let travelers know which locations are safe.     D: Naming a planet   Is there an existing system? Yes, each planet has an ID based on the system it belongs and the planet type. But a planet could also have a name. That name is given by the entity that controls it. In general, we keep the name that the native sentient beings would call it.   Is there an important group? No, in terms of naming, only planets with some cultural significance have names. There is no special grouping about them.   Is the name expected to change? Yes, when the planet becomes inhabited or culturally significant.     E: Naming a game title   Is there an existing system? No, there is no system, but it should not conflict with that of any well-known games.   Is there an important group? No, it is a new game by a new group. No one knows the group. However, having certain keyword would help make the game more searchable and identifiable.   Is the name expected to change? No, but it might have a sequel and a prequel. So the game title should be applicable to all three instead of being too specific that it only applies to this one.     F: Naming whatever   Is there an existing system? Yes, each new identified thing, concept, or phenomenon is given a sequential unique ID, and a name in English in addition to that. Some objects might have multiple names. If an object has a non-English name, then phonetic translation in English alphabet is given. If the cultural reference to the object reaches a threshold but remain unnamed, the system will give it an English name based on its characteristic in that context that it is referenced the most. Every time a new word not generated by the system comes into usage, the system analyzes the method of generating the new word and ranks the method according to the subculture that the word is used. The system uses the most popular naming method of that subculture when it needs to name an object.   Is there an important group? Yes, the naming follows some suffix rules in English to distinguish between types of nouns, verbs, adjectives. Names that belong to the same activity or process would be giving names of similar style.   Is the name expected to change? Yes, different names to the same object are kept, but each name has a different ranking in its usage in each context. With the system generates a message, the system picks the most popular name of the object.  
  9. Wai

    Ungoogleable game names

    Some thoughts:   1) If you are not restricted to single-word name, sometimes when you put two simple words that are not normally used together you still get a memorable name that is googleable.   2) If you google "Risk" or "Monopoly", the game is listed. So I suppose if you want to use single word, just focus on making your game popular and it will show up.   3) If you picked a common word, when you refer to your game you could always refer to it along with your name. So, before "Velocity" is known as a game, when you refer to it, try to phrase it like "Acharis Velocity game". Then when people google it they might add "Acharis" or "game".
  10. Wai

    Gain power without being chosen one feeling

    When I feel that a character got the ability primarily because the story-writer decided to write about that character, I get the "chosen one" feeling. These are some factors that would make me feel that way:   a) The ability is unrelated to the inclination, the problems, or wishes the character has before getting the special ability (When this happens, the main character seems like a simulation dummy to entertain a 'what-if' question.)   b) The ability is something that would save another world that the character knew nothing or wouldn't have cared otherwise. (When this happens, it seems like an excuse to include the character in that other world.)   c) The ability is related to a mission that the character would not have cared otherwise. (When this happens, similar to b, it seems like a contrived way to include the character in the mission.)     One formula commonly used to let an outsider be a rising superstar is that the outsider had always been practicing the "foundation skills" of the super ability without realizing it himself. Then, either someone spots his talent, or that he discovers his talent and enters the "competition".   Examples:   1) A chef at a martial arts school who was not allowed to learn how to fight, but started unconsciously using the moves in his cooking and had a good foundation. (When an opportunity comes, allowing him to develop his foundations, he becomes super powerful.)   2) A pizza delivery boy who is always in a rush, always almost get run over by cars and end up just a bit late, without realizing that he has extraordinary reaction time, because he is just trying to be on time for once. (In a different context, holding different tools instead of the handle bars of his delivery bicycle, he becomes a superhero.)   3) A person with a super-computer caliber mind who tries to hide it because whenever people are scared away whenever she solves problems with it. (When she becomes anonymous and realize that he can have a double-life, she start using her ability and become a superheroine.)    
  11. Wai

    Battle Angel Valerie

    Vigilance is the emotion to act with discretion. It is in the runner waiting for a gunshot to signal the start of a race. It is in the sharpshooter shooting targets as they appear randomly. Vigilance is the emotion that restraints an explosion of energy until the right moment.   Compared to the other eight archetypes, vigilance has the least positive feedback. Other emotions tend to intensify itself at the onset.  A person starting to be greedy tends to grow in greed until the circumstance changes to dissipate the desire. Vigilance, on the contrary, is self-dissipating and requires constant effort to maintain.   In the life data, a dichotomy in the population existed for vigilance. The normal type of people could almost never maintain vigilance. The emotion would dissipate as quickly as a transient. The other type of people could maintain the emotion for hours or days. Although we could not deduce what type of people they were, we created the in-game archetype based on this second type, and called it the “Vigilante.”   Vigilante was an agile archetype specialized in bursts of precise and acrobatic attacks. These characters were equipped to travel in stealth to reflect their ability to engage an opponent at their discretion. In other games, Vigilante covers characters such as the assassin, the rogue, the ninja, and the duelist.   Vigilante was one of the three archetypes that included a symbol in their representation. The archetype of self-righteous, the Paladin, had a divine seal to signify the conviction that they held above others. The archetype of guilt, the Sacrificer, had a stigma to signify the debt that they could not repay with their deaths. The Vigilante carried an insignia to signify their allegiance. Unlike a Paladin, a Vigilante did not consider themselves to have higher moral believes than their opponents. They saw themselves as equal competitors, and they fight out of the necessity to survive and to protect their allegiance.   Low level Vigilante traits of a character were expressed with the allegiance insignia and side-arms. At middle level, they gain communication device that relayed the status of other members in their allegiance. Their weapons would also become specialized as their communication allowed different members to target specific types of opponents. At high level, their ability to combine fellow Vigilante attacks were represented as a tactical aura. We developers called characters with Vigilante traits at that level the mob bosses.   In the life data, we had only seen three people that could command a battle like that.   “I'm sorry that so much had happened today, but we believe that you are next.”   The speaker was Kate Kisaki, the FBI agent I met earlier on the same day. She and her partner had been waiting for me at my house when I returned from the library. They were there to bring me the news that including Jeremy, six of nine of us developers had died in the past few months. The cause of death were all unknown. Of the remaining three, two other than myself were traveling aboard. One went to Egypt. The other went to the Himalayas. Both of them had been missing for over a month. They were presumed dead.   Over the coffee table were the photos of my fellow developers and a projected map showing clusters of mysterious deaths around them. Kate had showed me in explaining our connections to the epicenters.   “We have been trying to find a pattern that among the clusters. A pattern we found was the founders of Pegasus. …”   Pegasus was the name of our company, the one we founded, and failed, before working for the client. Among us developers an unspoken creed kept us from mentioning its name, as if doing so would unearth the pain and hopelessness.   “… Five years after Pegasus dissolved, the founders started to die one by one, along with some people connected to them.”   Kate paused momentarily to observe my reaction. A collage of memory filled my mind like the images spread over the coffee table.   It was a replay of a memory not long ago when we completed our project with the client. In our celebration, we talked about what we would do with our sum of money. Tyler, in his boastful tone, would announce that he would climb the Himalayas, and would invite Antony to go together. Antony, citing that the days in the lab had made him lazy, would say to just travelling the world. Jeremy, in his typical reserved and calculated manner, would tell us that he had not decided. Having been with him for so long, I would have guessed that he wanted to keep working, but could not say so knowing that we all intended to leave. I would tell everyone that I just wanted to settle down, and told Jeremy to find me if he needed anything.   The images on the coffee table confirmed that they had fulfilled their wishes. When Kate asked me whether I knew of anyone who might have a grudge against our company, I reclined with an absurd feeling of relief as I recognized that my wish was also fulfilled.   The similarity between my posture and someone who had passed out alarmed Kate. I asked Kate to give me some time as I tried to articular what I felt, staring at the blank ceiling.   I was letting a barrage of swords raining down on me. It was a divine attack of the paladin archetype. I let my body be shredded as if I had been waiting for this all along. Deep down, we knew that we had sold our souls to the devil in order to fulfill our broken dream.   We engineered a way to let people watch one another fight to their deaths, stripping them of humanities and civilizations. We were far from being innocent victims. We sheltered ourselves in the comfort that what we could imagine was impossible, and implemented the part our client requested. We were his accomplices working with one eye closed. We worked on it like virologists working on a virus strain that could only be applied as a mass-casualties biological weapon.     What was killing us was not an avenger, but the embodiment of karma. We were being punished for implementing a vision of carnage.   I vaguely remembered a paper ten years ago about the weaponization of social networks. Unlike other military uses of social networks, it talked about using it as a direct weapon for assassinations. Perhaps a decade old pipe-dream had evolved into reality.   If that was the case, we the nobodies might be killed because we knew too much. The culprit was the client. He did not have a grudge on us. We sold ourselves.   At this point, I needed to decide what I would tell Agent Kisaki.   It might seem logical to tell her everything including the notes from Jeremy. However, if we the developers were the target and the others were merely collateral deaths, the more we talked, the more likely that Kate would become one also.   Not knowing the truth, the safest way I felt was to let Kate know in a way that the system would not infer that we had met, or that I had told her anything.   How would I do that?   ~ End of Chapter 6 ~
  12. You could make the game music-less and use the screams or sounds of gunshots to cue the distance.   I don't know what the theme is. If it has to do with ghosts or the super nature you could have the environment starts to bleed, mirrors start to shatter, or have words or zombies start to emerge from walls.   If it is a huge monster then maybe the ground would shake.   If it is a fast monster maybe it would shoot darts and the player would see the near-miss.   In some arcade game where the player is supposed to dodge bullets, the game shows the location where a bullet would hit so that the player could dodge it before it hits. That kind of gameplay dictates where the player needs to be to be safe. It keeps the player moving. You could implement something that shows the trajectory of the monster's attack. Maybe a flash of light passing through the player's torso. If the player does not dodge somehow, the player gets sliced in half.
  13. Wai

    Side-story episodic content

    You want the stand-alone episode to exist at that point in the plot for some reason. If you could somehow communicate that reason to the player or make the player feel the same by the end of episode 5, then they will also want that stand-alone episode. So you need to somehow engineer the expectation of the player so that they want it when it comes.
  14. Wai

    Side-story episodic content

    I don't think I understand the context and constraints. It sounds like you were trying to copy a model and you see the shortcomings. If you could list your objectives then a structure can be designed that does not have those shortcomings. You could breakdown the options you have and pick the ones that make the most sense.   Context: Suppose you have already release a game with a main story, that goes from Episode 1 to Episode 12, and you want to add an Episode that would have been Episode 6.5 in the plot. How would you provide Episode 6.5?   Availability: a) Make it available to players who have completed Episode 6. b) Make it available to players who have completed the main story (Episode 12) c) Others...   Main Plot Indication: a) For each episode that would not move the main plot forward, indicate them for the player so that the player might skip them. b) Do not indicate that the episode is outside the main plot, let the player figure it out himself, or assume that the player does not care. c) Make the non-main plot episode "special" in that the player must do something effortful or intentional to unlock. d) Others...   Episode Initiation (What is available to the player when they start the special episode): a) Restrict the player to use what was available them him when they have completed the previous episode in the plot. b) Detach the episode from the plot so that the player could enter the episode with whatever he currently has and it would still make sense. c) Make the special episode stand-alone and uses new/side characters that are not part of the main plot. d) Others...   Episode Effects: a) When the player completes the special episode, let the player continue by branching off. b) When the player completes the special episode, give the player something that he could optionally use. c) There is no effect whatsoever. The special episode is just for fun. d) The effect of the special episode was assumed. Even if the episode was skipped, the main plot assumes that the character had already gone through that. The characters might mention what happened in that episode (e.g. "Remember that time we...?" "Let's Not talk about it..." / "No Way! that was not what happened!" ). The main plot advertises about the special episode and the player plays it to see what happened. e) Others...
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