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Member Since 26 Jun 2000
Offline Last Active Apr 21 2017 11:00 PM

Topics I've Started

Gameplay For "Split-Reality" Game World?

16 November 2014 - 12:13 AM

Imagine a game world that's driven by the high-tech concept of augmented reality, where a kind of digital veil is cast over true reality. Effectively it would be a world within a world, each level of the game populated by what's actually there and the in-game digital illusion of what's there. I'm thinking of a utopian/dystopian dichotomy, with the player sometimes able to "pierce the veil" and see the utopian world for the dystopian world it really is.


My question is, given the theme, what kinds of gameplay might this suggest?


One idea might be a gardening / survival split. I'm thinking of almost a kind of theme of reality glitching in and out of phase at timed intervals. The utopian world would be filled with assigned tasks, crafting, maybe puzzles. To fit the theme of "all's not well in paradise" both task success and failure would advance the plot, which in turn would bring on bouts of reality glitching, revealing the ugly true reality.


The dystopian world would be filled with threats, most initially to be evaded or hidden from. I'm thinking of sweeping "eye of Sauron" monitors that can't be looked at, characters that turn into monstrosities, patrol drones, etc.


Another part of the idea might deal with freedom of movement versus contraints. The utopian world would be constrained, orderly, with access points and barriers. The dystopian world would allow parkour-style movement over  a wider, crumbling area where doors and walls are shown not to be real.


Thoughts? Different ways to take this or things that could be added?

Taking A Group of AI Followers Indoors

14 November 2014 - 01:43 PM

What are some good ways to deal with a group of AI followers when moving into confined spaces like corridors or sewers in a game with a 3rd or 1st person perspective? I'm looking for gameplay examples / conventions I might check out or design suggestions. Hopefully it might scale so that the followers could be very large (3 or 4 dozen), and it doesn't have to be realistic.


Some ideas:


1) Pick N - When transitioning into interiors you must select N followers. Everybody else waits outside.


2) Pick X which represent Y - Same as Pick N, but each follower abstractly represents the powers of a group of followers. Everybody outside disappears as if they're riding in the pockets of the Y followers.


3) Blobber - Game mode changes indoors to FPS and followers are abstracted to completely abilities, like an old-school blobber, perhaps even appearing as selectable portraits


4) Level Design - Game only has interior spaces that fit maximum number of followers


5) Claustraphobia - Tragically, all followers suffer from a severe fear of closed spaces, and just can't enter confined areas


6) Fading Followers - Followers fade in and out of areas, like in Destiny Warriors games of old.


7) Teleporting Followers - Same as Pick N, but followers can teleport to player. May require a resource to use.


Issues the design is meant to address would be

  • Followers causing player to get stuck (especially if player needs to turn around in tight spaces)
  • Follower pathing killing CPU resources
  • Needing a specific follower in a specific place (thief needs to pick lock)
  • Followers in combat
  • Followers without ability to navigate path same as player (e.g., player has jet pack, follower doesn't)

I'm sure there's more. Thanks for any thoughts!

Object Focused or Action Focused?

31 July 2013 - 05:16 PM

Assuming a game has a large number of objects and actions an avatar can perform, which do you think is clearer to the player, a design built around choosing objects and performing actions granted by them or choosing actions and selecting objects to realize the action?


For example, consider planting a listening device: If there were a range of devices to choose from, it might make more sense to have a "Bug" or "Surveillance" action with the ability to choose the right bug to plant. But if there was only one type of bug but several ways to plant it, it might make more sense to select the listening device and then choose which action you wanted to perform. But if there is both?


Another (more out there) example: Let's say you have a city and can do things at an abstract level in different locations within the city. Maybe you can burgle or vandalize, or help the needy or guard locations. Which makes more sense, to have a range of actions you choose and then locations to perform them (with each block sort of acting like an object), or to maybe make each location context sensitive, showing the available actions maybe when you click on it?



Specialization Bonus for General Skills

11 July 2013 - 11:11 PM

I'm trying to build a trade off between how players train skills. I've got about 40 general skills, things like Gunnery or Science or Survival, and each has a number of specializations which enhance the general skill. So Gunnery might have Light Arms, Science might have Biology and Survival might have Arctic. I'd like the player to choose between putting resources toward the general category or specializing in a part of it.


My question is what the bonus should be for specializing and how it should work. Initially I was just going to make specialization a cheaper way to add a +1 or +2 or whatever, but constrain it to a specific category, but that's pretty dry. Another thought was to remove critical failures, but again that wasn't very inspired.


I should note that skills are meant to be tested against the general category only, so that someone with the appropriate skill level should pass a test regardless of specialization, but should get a more favorable result for specializing. Skill levels are open ended, requiring geometrically more resources each time you gain a level in the skill, though without the more lazy +1, +2 etc I'm not sure about specializations.


Any ideas? What should you get for putting the effort into Light Arms as opposed to just Gunnery?



Really, Google? Really?

05 July 2013 - 01:51 AM

You know, I heard that evils like texting, social media and the nefarious autocorrect were dumbing down civilization and contributing to the inevitable day when robot overlords rule us all, but I didn't believe it until I saw it for myself...


Attached File  GoogleDocsThief.png   83.69KB   24 downloads


And to think Google, of all noble organizations, is involved. For shame!