Defining Awesome — User-Created Short Experience-Based Gameplay
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  • User-Created Short Experience-Based Gameplay

    Written by . Posted at 2:55 pm on January 3rd, 2010

    I’ve become obsessed by an idea lately. I have to channel it out somehow or else I’ll start making it and Link-Dead will suffer. One way is to write it down, so here it is.

    I’m imagining how Link-Dead would be as a single-player game. The way I would do it would be totally different than anything that ever was seen on the gaming market. Half-Life 2 has episodic content. I would do user-created experience-based content.

    The primary motivation for this is my understanding of what we want from a computer game. Especially as I got older and I see other older players (more than 20 yrs) and what they want. For example my brother has a PS3 and the only game he plays is Fight Night. That is because he just wants to pop-in for 10 minutes and punch a dude in the face. That’s all there is to it. We don’t have time for more. I am personally frustrated by games that take long to load, make me watch cinematics, make me become involved in a story, make me start slow and do progress in a game. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT. I just want to get in a game and shoot some dudes in the face for 15-30 minutes a day. That’s all. Soldat partly solves this problem, because it is simple and allows for exactly that. But I have a better idea that would allow the player to become more or less involved in a story making the game not so repetitive.

    Lets say this is a game like Link-Dead but not multiplayer (so future war, destroyed cities, machines etc.). The basic idea from which everything would spawn is: you are a regular soldier in a war. You log in a map and immediately become part of the story happening there. Many different stories like: you are lost alone and have to find your way back to base; you are leader of a squadron; you are a scout; you are commander of a mech robot; you are part of a squad in the role of a hacker etc. These stories/maps would be user-created allowing for infinite possibilities. These would be 5-30 minutes experiences which you just take and leave.

    When I’m playing any game my motivations are usually as: today I feel like shooting dudes in the legs; today I feel like being a large robot and destroying everything; today I want to stay quiet and snipe. Some games provide these possibilites, but most fail, or the experience is frustrating to get to. Like you have to conquer 10 maps to get to the point were you want to. For example Half-Life. The most interesting part was fighting the grunts and black ninjas (or whatever they were). I played those maps repeatedly many times because they were so cool. And the AI allowed for many possibilites of resolving the situation. This is what I would want. Little experiences driven – on the micro-scale by very good AI and on the macro-scale by well planned human created story.

    A story is just a map, your place in it (your role) and different enemies and situations to solve. The stories would be created by something like a Game Master. An idea from RPG games (not cRPG). If I would be brave I would do it like this: a Game Master would not just create a map. He would be like a game server host and admin of the server plus more. He would be looking over his game in real-time. That means watching as human players join and play and modifying the game in real-time. A good Game Master would add or subtract gameplay elements as he feels the player needs. For example if he sees a player wandering the map, becoming obviously bored – place an enemy somewhere nearby or place a trap for him to fall into and wake him up. If the game is too hard for someone – place a medkit or a cool weapon that he can find. Shoot an artillery strike just for spicing things up or make the players weapon jam if he is overusing it.

    I have also more ideas thanks to the TwitPic bugtracker I made in the Technology Test. Instant feedback would be a core functionality in this game. Things that are bad would be removed quickly and things that are good would be emphasized. Good maps and Game Masters would be promoted and weak ones would be weeded out.

    Oh yes and if I would be super-brave this would be a co-op game. Meaning that if you are playing some other players can join. Either as your teammates, separate from you or enemies. Adding randomness to the whole experience (you would never know if the enemy soldier you are fighting against right now is AI driven or a human).

    That was my flash of inspiration. This is my dream game.

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    1. amazing, finish the LD multiplayer , and make this.

    2. FurryPr0n23

      Somebody discovered casual gaming a little too late … The Game Master (oddly reminiscent of pen&paper RPGs) might work for an hour or two, but on the long-run it’s destined to fail.

    3. “Meaning that if you are playing some other players can join. Either as your teammates, separate from you or enemies.”
      So is it a single player or not?

      As for me, I like the single player idea. Why? Because I like playing for 20, 30 or 40 minutes. Then I can do something else.

      But there is something different, something that I actually don’t care because I, as a gamer, have many choices. It’s a boredom of the game. You will never avoid it by creating a single player one. You can hold gamers for 20, 30 or even 40 hours, fine. But then your game will be forgotten…

      Today most of games last only thanks to net environment they provide. How long do you think your brother would play Fight Night if there was no multi option?

      It’s fine if you want to create single player one. However, in the next year or the next two years Link-Dead would be something small, not worth seeing.

      So I think you should make a single player game and soon after that give us some bloody deathmatch or make a multi player game (as of yet) and then evolve a vision you have described here. Good luck :)

    4. I thought your dream game was L-D

      I don’t like your mentality.
      If MM took your advice I think it would be better if he just stopped making LD multi and worked on this.(assuming of course that he doesn’t get further flashes of inspiration)

    5. ehm…nice idea – but impossible for just one guy (even if its you)

    6. That sounds pretty awesome. I think the concept of game masters is underestimated, would like to see more games experimenting with that (so far the only one I know of is Vampire: The Masquerade).

    7. Please read.
      My ideal game would be a sort of Metal Slug (Who not played metal slug?) Multiple paths to follow, dozens of enemies on screen and different!, Vehicles …
      Actually if I knew it would be basically game programming a multiplayer mode with all options, and create tools to download, so users could create their maps, weapons, vehicles, campaigns.
      When played soldat, I discovered a server that was called Leo’s TW, realistic maps, the characters did not fly, sometimes you did not see the enemy. bombing. including Co-op game. Later I stop by your blog that is not vat, I began to realize that ive put forward and conceptual art of games, when I saw the concept of Link-Dead and the first videos of the physical and characters, maps, dynamic lights I was amazed. Link-Dead I believe they should have a script, albeit simple, like metal slug, levels of 20-30 min killing lots of enemies (it is important that the bodies do not disappear off the map =P) and bosses. Different types of enemies can be a powerful AI, such as focusing in which more fires and so the other can attack them.
      Link-Dead will be big. Courage.

    8. Clive Jericho

      all MM has to do is make the tools and framework. the community wil create the missions and do the rest.

    9. ehm…nice idea – but impossible for just one guy (even if its you)
      HA HA

      Sinpol: yeah I’ve thought about that. Imagine Metal Slug with a Game Master creating the level on the fly for you.

      Silverfish: what could you do in Vampire?

    10. lol we’ve been joking around that LD will be DF forever , and from your words i can see that this game is not having a bright future.


      u’re changing the concept all the time from a multplayer tactical shooter to a platformer with a gostek with a stick in his fuckin ass, a strategy game and now a sp/coop game with mechanics from left 4 dead but with some “game master” player instead of ai director.
      i thought that you want to actually earn money on making games for life ? soldat will not be giving u money forever and u finally gonna have to move out from ur mom’s place.
      why would anyone pay for ur game if it’s quality depends on the community’s work?all the 40 guys who come around here?
      i know i wouldn’t, look at ur stats and the percent of registered players among all regular soldat players

      u know that this casual thing u think you aiming for is bullshit. tell that ppl don’t have time to play games to everyone who bought modern warfare 2 and made it the biggest lunch in all of entertainment. look at the gaming market and see what’s going on xbox live arcade ,psn or even steam. hardcore indie games are rocking there. want to play for 10 minutes? play a flash game. some of the have more quality in the them then ur tech test that u were making for 2 fucking years. they also make a lot more money.

      you can say that the wii is rocking the socks in the world but the sad truth is that no one is buying games for it respectively to the amount of hardware in customers hands. only mario and zelda cash in’s make it cuz they’re fucking mario and zelda! most ppl say, ow let’s play some wii sports and shake ur wii motes. i’ve gotta an idea for u: shake ur hand around ur dick and u gonna have much more fun than that shite..

      if u want to follow ur dreams then ok, that’s awesome. we all encourage that. that’s what life’s about. but don’t sell urself as an awesome, all-knowing, indie game programmer, laughing on other’s critique and being full of shit. finally finish something and get ur head around your goals, and then move on to another project.

      “ehm…nice idea – but impossible for just one guy (even if its you)
      HA HA”

      make a reality check and look at what u’ve done already in those 2 years+:
      – a tile engine that makes a bad and bland looking, restricted terrain
      – a nice texture generator but with no variety in them and flat normals
      – fucked up climbing
      – shitty lighting(gun flash…brrrr) and fun shadows but we already’ve seen this shit years ago(they’re also buggy in places)
      – a dust shit that makes same looking clouds with no fading out
      – basic particle effects
      – a great animation engine fucked up by a badly rigged ‘gostek’ making it all look ridiculous
      – mysterious performance – why is it locked to 31 fps if ur doing a tech test? why ppl can’t see how actually it runs?

      so stop tapping ur back and get a fucking drink and actually think what u’re doing here. it’s all a fucking mess. soldat was and is a mess. realize that u’re not that good. work on 1 thing at a time.

    11. If you make this, it’s be pretty cool, bit you gotta make lots and lots and lots of frontline combat. I’m sick to death of great games like Halo, Battlefield and a few others going on about open world gameplay, yet in the single player variants, you’re put in petty side missions. Some on the codemasters team finally put some effort in and made some decent frontline combat, the multiplayer is excellent!

      But if you made a LD single player variant, I’d like a boatload if grunt killing. Platoon to company sized battles. Less spec ops crap. I want to be in the thick of the war instead of “destroying radio towers”. Seriously. WTF.

      But as for your idea…

      Go ahead. Sounds great!

    12. don’t wanna be rude or something but somehow i must agree with mman…
      I was really happy when I heard you managed to get some guys around you and founded “transhuman design” – seems like your alone again.
      don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate what you did but you would have achieved so much together as a team with some other developers. of course you then had to come to a compromise sometimes, but at least there would be an end.

      now it’s just like proverb: the way is the goal.

    13. @mman
      He didn’t say that he is switching directions (again) he said that he is posting this to keep himself on the current direction.

      Although it’s a good thing you are here deflating MM’s ego occasionally. Without your service his head might have popped out because of it.

    14. @mman
      You’ve spent. Really what GM has achieved is amazing, and has echo halfway, the light system is not shit, nor that of particles, or dust it takes dispar (this takes a lot but that is fixed). Soldat is not shit. nor was nor will be. About the textures, I remember that MM is a programmer not an artist (we know) Perhaps you are jealous of what is achieved and you stayed in the middle trying to get it.

    15. Michal is brilliant at game mechanics, not in making fancy looking graphics. Look at Soldat, the game is funny but the GUI looks like bullshit, the game has no story and no specific style like commercial games have, but its very funny. That’s why the tech demo is so ugly, the mechanics/the idea is not complete so he does not spent too much time into the rest. His aim is not to make a game, he wants to make THE game of a specific genre. The graphics can be done later by other people,- he makes the system, the users make the cartridges. To do this, he had chosen the hard and long path, where you have to find out and master the related things by yourself to become good and understand the REASON behind it, this costs time. When you hurry you will make mistakes. If he would be dependent on money so much, he would do something else i think.

      I would not wonder if he would start again from scratch.

      There are always two perspectives you can watch at something. Don’t be so primitive, there are people who have other motivations and aims in their life. Illu has said everything in one sentence: the way is the goal.

      Wish you all very much success in year 2010!

    16. i’d like to try that out before the multiplayer link-dead.
      i always liked to play Soldat for few minutes alone in single player against zombie bots, just having the feeling to shoot them is just greatly satisfying.

    17. hii: yeah zombie servers and soldat script mods are my inspiration for this too.

      yv3: heh never thought of it this way – I’m creating a Genre rather than a specific game. Something true in that.

    18. Michal, you’re lost in your own little world.

      Yes, players do want stories. In fact, players want pure gameplay as well. Single-player games have to have a story, because AI sucks. Multiplayer games can’t have a story, because players are assholes who are more interested in spelling out “FUCK” with items dropped on the ground and ways to teamkill you without being punished than enjoying the story.

      And I do enjoy a story. A good story that is, which somehow recently vanished. There are no games like Planescape: Torment or Fallout nowadays, regrettably. The market is small, and has always been. It’s not that those players changed, but gaming has become more mainstream, and has attracted idiots who don’t dare read anything more than a beer label.

      As for player-generated content, you must be joking. Please take a look at Spore or littlebigplanet. Giving the player a sandbox and semi-developer tools won’t result in the player creating beautiful new worlds, but oceans of worthless diarrhea. Players are not game designers. Players fail at creating decent content or even understanding the processes of the game they play, even if they’d play it a billion times. Of course there are players who are good at creating content – such as yourself, but as you can understand those are a minority.

    19. in neverwinter nights there were game masters with tools and power to alter world ‘in realtime’. best gaming moments i had besides two fallouts and planescape torment. but thats good for small server and handful of non idiotic players.

    20. I swear half the people who come here are retarded. You have no say unless you are a fellow game developer who can appreciate what MM does.

    21. @archont

      But games like this would encourage people to be more creative.

    22. Maan, the idea is great, but i’m sure 90% of the gamemasters would just ruin the game for the players and laugh while some player is dying for some stupid reason he himself created.
      Some people want to create stuff, but most just want to break stuff.

    23. Josh Milewski

      It’s a good idea. Essentially what you’d be creating, though, is a very robust but very easy to use game maker. There are plenty of robust game makers out there and ways for users to generate content for other games, like in Second Life, but the key points with your idea are that 1) the user-created games would be limited in scope to a certain style of place that lends itself well to half hour or less play sessions and 2) it must be easier and more fun to use than everything else out there, or else people might as well just go use Game Maker or something.

      By the way, I think letting people play together as you mentioned would be the absolute best part of this whole thing.

    24. Josh Milewski

      “…to a certain style of play…”

      Not “place”.

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