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.