Monday, October 1, 2012

Wouldn't it be cool... My favorite!

As a last part of this mini series I like to present the idea I like the most and which I hope to realize soon. I have to admit I got greatly influenced by two (indie-) games while coming up with this idea. So I guess it's not a totally innovative one, but on the side I think those are very rare and not necessarily to create a good new game experience. Of course you can't just copy one game but by connecting good parts from two different games you can create a whole new experience for the player. At least that's what I say to myself when I think of this idea ;)

So here are the two games I was talking about:

Screenshot from Minicraft 
Here you play the game in your browser and also find a description about it's creation, read it!

Dwarf Fortress
Screenshot of Dwarf Fortress - yes that's how the vanilla game looks like
Here is the official site of the game. It's really hard to get into the game as it's not easy and has almost no help for beginners which I consider a flaw of it, but there are a lot of helpful tutorials around the forums and it's really worth it because you can do so much in it. One very good example of deep game play with lots of opportunities.

And now my idea:
The Refugee-becomes-the-survivor-in-the-wildness-and-starts-his-own-civilization-game 
(I did mention that names are not that easy right?)

Technology: 2D, isometric view
Gameplay: You control one character in a random generated world which is kinda 3D (don't know how to describe properly but you have an x, y and z axis). You would just need keys to move in the world plus one for interaction with objects, one for your inventory and one for your character screen. You would start with just a few tools but similar to minecraft you can chop wood or mine into mountain to get stone and ores to produce better tools, weapons and armor for yourself. You are not alone in the world with enemy of different strengths will roaming around and attack you if the spot you so you always have to be ready to defend yourself. Of course you always can choose to build yourself a house or any other kind of safeplace because you are able to build walls, floors, doors and all those kind of stuff with the materials you collect. You could go on like this as long as you want while improving yourself and exploring more and more of the world. Up to this point I guess it's pretty much minecraft with a different view but i want to give the player the opportunity to build up city in this game. You would do so by building some sort of special buildings which attract NPC who populate them and do different jobs in your city. An example would be to build a little house with fields nearby which would attract farmer to join you. All in all there would be different profession from guards to smiths and so on and you would need a good mix of them to keep your city running well. All the NPC are controlled by the computer so your task is not really the micro management but more the macro management.
Story: You are a refugee from an evil empire and fled to unknown lands in order to escape some kind of punishment. You can choose to try to survive on your on or as pointed out above you could try to unite other refugees and build up your own city and maybe even an empire to fight the evil empire.

By the way I found an article interviewing Notch the creator of "Minicraft" where he speaks about innovation and ideas (and some other stuff) and I think he would agree with my statements at the beginning of the article. You can read it here. So at least one of the creator of the influencing games would not sue me for realizing this ;)


  1. So perhaps you mean the game to be isometric? That's kind of 2.5D like farmville and margaritaville etc. As we discussed previously it sounds like you want something in the space in between Civ and MineCraft, which definitely sounds like an interesting spot to be in. Of course that's two very challenging competitors to have on either side of you :-) but that's no reason not to go for it. I think the interesting question to ask may be "how does the player of the game create their own story". What is it about the game mechanics at this level that allow the player to create an interesting narrative, e.g. I tried this approach with building my city, but it had these negative consequences so I had to abandon that approach and try this other thing which succeeded, e.g. I founded the first city too far from a water source so we had a famine, but we managed to survive by making a deal to build an aqueduct with another city or something like that ... there's a whole thing about things like that in the RR3 book chapter on storytelling - remember the nod flamethrowers? Do watch my storytelling video summary (from last year) if that's not making sense.

  2. Yeah it makes sense and I think if the player is free to move and act in this world as I would like him to be then it's easy for him to create stories like that while making experiences in the game world. Things like do not accept to many refugees in your city before you got your your food production working on a stable level; don't settle next to the orc village, they are not really friendly and like to take your stuff and kill you.. Maybe it would be cool to be able to start in the same world at a different spot after you failed so that eventually you could visit the ruins of your previous try.

  3. This is a cool idea. It has some elements of RTS games like Age of Empires and Starcraft in regards to building resource gathering, but seems to take everything a step further with the open world. I think this is a great idea because it would allow different types of gamers to play the game in different ways (fans of The Sims could focus on building while other may prefer combat). One thing that I think would be interesting is if you were able to customize your character's skills. This could help you determine what strategy you take with your city.