Friday, February 4, 2011

TGTIWLTP: Background

Background and reason for the game.

For my game I want to have no elves, I liked the Tolkien elves but it seems every fantasy setting has slightly different elves/ vampires / orks. I want my game to have as few preconceptions as possible. I have played too many games where you get to choose between 4 different races.
Humans with pointy ears.
Short humans
Short Fat humans

But why do games use this format? It is easy to identify with and understand we have a lot of preconceptions that fill in the gaps so a lot less effort is required to explain what they are and how they work.
The other purpose for a human base class is to use it to point out the differences in the stats. for example.
Humans +0 to all stats
Humans with pointy ears. +1 intelligence
Short humans +1 dexterity
Short fat humans +1 constitution

Then to balance the game the vanilla humans require less experience to advance or learn skills faster of have one extra miscellaneous perk.

After I played WAR for a while my ideal game became a MMO, I like the comradery and the teamwork required to complete tasks. It was also a lot easier to compare yourself with others and to learn from their play style. What I did not like about MMO's are the annoying people and the spam and the flippancy with which death is treated.
Then if it was a MMO could it still use top down rougelike graphics? or would it need to look "Pretty"
I like the idea of the massively single player online game, if all the other players interact in a similar world but you cannot directly interact with them then is would still be a single player environment but with some rather erratic NPC's. Possibly they can be used to develop the AI for the real NPCs.

Another thing that has started to annoy me about games is their destructiveness. It kind of made sense when I was a nobody who was searching a dungeon for the Amulet of Yendor but what is left to do once the great evil has been vanquished?
And what about the colony of ogres that you slew on the way. I am sure if there were woman and children ogres too the protagonist would surely be required to kill them too.

How better to breed empathy for these monsters than to roll one? This would also allow me to have a multitude of non human playable races.

What about classes? I really like playing as a thief but I was never interested in the actual thieving skills. Of the typical class archetypes the healer is the only one that would be remotely useful in a civilised peaceful society.

And that’s what I really wanted, a civilised peaceful society that the adventurers can return to an retire in once they have cleared out the dungeon that was threatening the town. Anybody from this society may be driven to protect it or leave on an adventure. and the adventurers may happen upon one of these small communities for trade. Then I thought if I want to play as the evil minion, why not also as the blacksmith who never wants to go on an adventure. But is happy to meet all the adventures that come to buy his stock. In this way players can be given a sandbox minigame with the only goal to produce amazing artefacts that are the envy of kings, or brigands. The minigame could take inspiration from Puzzle Quest, Sudoku or Battleships.

The next step then would be to allow players to give quests to each other, hopefully this would create a self-sustaining world. For example the blacksmith may run out of sapphires to complete the nifty sword and give an adventurer a quest to obtain sapphires. then when the sword is finished it might be stolen and deposited at the bottom of the local mine that has been overrun by monsters. then there will be a quest to retrieve it.

So I want original races in an original world. the world needs to be full or separate communities that can interact with each other. Both to compete and coexist with.

Not really after an angband variant. more of a JRPG but those graphics look complicated and angband was able to fit a lot of detail into very few colours.

Some of the influences:
Skill based levelups
craft your own equipment
Romancing saga 3
Proficiency based weapon skills
Breath of fire
Graphics (yes I really do like the graphics in ADOM, there are no clipping issues or anything)
Appears simple but is complicated (easy to learn hard to master)
Satiation calculation
Multitudes of races/classes/enemies
Angband variants (never played actual rouge or angband though)
Simple dungeons
Save the princess quests
Age of empires 1
Tactical battles
The civilisations each have a common identity
Civilisation 4
Civilisations again
Chrono trigger
The Sims 1
Multiple goals
Fatigue system
Simple design
Continual content addition
Dwarf Fortress
You can make a computer in game
The hitch hikers guide to the galaxy (text adventure)
Warhammer online: Age of Reckoning
Prestige within your groups of friends
Not power gaming
Eve online
Resource based dynamic world
Puzzle Quest
Different approach to battle
Mini games
Morrowind / Fallout 3
Good modding tools, pity you needed them for the games to run smoothly. I never had the game of the year editions.

Given that list what is it about computer games that I like? Why do I play them?
A sense of achievement.
As opposed to sweeping the floor which only stays clean for maybe an afternoon.
Learning and mastering a new skill.
Note that these skill are rarely exportable to anything other than other games. But yeah a big part of why I play games is the exploration of the skill sets required to complete the goals that the game defines (and finding where the boundaries are).
Playing games is like reading a book.
That is to say all the reasons I had for reading the magician or foundation series of books can also be attributed to why I played Baldur’s gate through more than once. So that would be: exploration, discovery, escapism, moral dilemmas, Learning about how to think; Humour; That sort of thing.
Competition/ comradery.
The whole look how impressive I am and we make a great team thing. “Was it hard? It was hard, FOR THE COMPUTER!”
Under the hood
I have not been doing this much lately but as an example I learnt how to use POV-ray to model light. Then after that I could see on movies why shots were taken from that angle and in game I always wondered where the spawned the “sun orb” Was is a point light source of an array of points? I like math/physics/chemistry and computer games show you all of these. It has been fun to watch the development of AI, some of it is pretty smart (wolves tracking you by scent in Unangband) but some is not (bots in LOL).
Ben doing it for years, it is easy to get a new game and sit down for a few hours, I have a nice rig that can play most of this years games. Continuing to play computer games just maintains the status quo. If I did something else I don’t know what it would be.