Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bwogosphere, The Game

I don't consider myself a hardcore gamer, I'm more a casual player whose wife beats him easily at Super Mario (seriously... it's bad). Despite this, I've spent more than the average amount of time thinking up and designing my perfect game. Often this is just a synthesis of games or game elements that I know already exist with a little bit of originality and preference thrown in, though some games are great as they are - if you're content with that (and I'm usually not). I really like some side-scrollers and I think they're more fun to play in general than most of these open-world ultra-three-dimensional pieces of eye candy we're becoming used to, but they have their limitations too. Here's some of my ideal games. If they don't exist, please make them. If they do, please buy them for me.

Survivor Earth: This is basically a mish-mash of concepts I've come to love over the past few decades. Imagine, for once, the aliens are the good guys. They show up on the scene in the near-future and offer to take any humans willing to leave to a brand new planet, free from pollution/crime/country music (they're not big on rap either but they like all the other kinds) in giant transport ships. People can choose to remain behind, and some folks might not be invited because of... whatever. Fill in the blank. Maybe there's a faction of alien-haters in the mix. Fast forward about one hundred years. Humanity is alive and thriving on Earth 2.0 while the remnants (but we won't call them that because good grief is that word becoming cliche) find themselves in a precarious existence. The aliens have learned about reality television and have setup broadcast stations on Earth to record the exploits of those still alive and kicking. Some humans ignore this, content to live in the communities that have developed and safe from the new dangers that they face. What dangers? Things like mutant scorpions and giant spiders and tyrannosaurus rexes and hunter-killer androids. They'll mostly be left alone though, because no one really wants to watch that. Those who enlist as members of the Cast are given a set of basic supplies (like a simple uniform and a not-a-Pipboy) and followed 24/7 like Hunger Games (but way better because I thought of this idea in high school). Players would be allowed to roam free, collecting all manner of things (weapons, ammo, vehicle parts and schematics, armor, genetic mutations, cybernetic augmentations, etc.), and fighting all the aforementioned baddies. Gaining XP by dispatching foes, finding secrets, exploring locations, and all the normal things is recorded only instead of leveling-up you'd be offered a mission. These would be called Episodes. Defend the settlement, collect nine T-Rex teeth, race not-Optimus to the other side of the island while it's raining cats and dogs and missiles - whatever. The XP is called Fame and you cash it in at broadcast stations or via your not-a-Pipboy for all those lovely upgrades we talked about. The setting is loosely post-apocalyptic in the sense that there aren't very many folks around and those that are tend to be agricultural (or raider jerks) using way-outdated technology and run-down machinery from a hundred years ago. Cities would be overgrown with undergrowth - that sort of thing. I image saber-toothed cats roaming the wooded areas too. You get the picture. I suppose it's like a hybrid of Fallout, Just Cause, and Mechwarrior (because there will absolutely be schematics for those) with a hint of I Am Legend (with the alternate ending because it's way better than the stupid one they used) and Hunger Games - but all relatively tongue-in-cheek. The more I play Just Cause 2, the more I realize the plot is just an excuse to sell the game - it's really about driving/flying/running around blowing things up and collecting insane amounts of dozens of categories of boxes of things to be able to unlock and upgrade more things to drive/fly/shoot. Which is just about perfect, because the game world is amazingly huge. I'd want weather and a day/night cycle of course, with things like wind and sunlight affecting different things (maybe you can built a hang-glider or find solar panels, for instance). I enjoy RPGs but I think attaching statistics to too many things would ruin the experience, so maybe have a health bar that can be increased, a charge for your cybernetics (if/when you get them), maybe a power bar for mutations, and a carrying capacity. Everything else would be modular so you'd be able to achieve the normal array of perks simply by upgrading. I think we'd say that your not-a-Pipboy utilizes pocket dimensions to store your things on-demand but you can always increase its size. There could be some vehicles laying around still that could be drive-able if repaired, or you can buy/steal/borrow one from someone else still around, or you can find some schematics and search for parts for custom ones. And I think that's huge - you should be able to customize modular vehicles and weapons in a vast number of ways. I want an airship and I want to be able to make a scoped rocket launcher that shoots aluminum cans full of gasoline, but I want them to be the result of a ton of hard work when I was using a broken bicycle and rusted pipe to get around and fight dinosaurs with. Include some sort of specified zones for Episodes where themes can be explored - a zombie city, those things from Tremors, Medieval zone, etc. The goal, if there needs to be one, would be simple: gain a certain amount of Fame.

If we go the online route, I think I'd allow each world to be a server for about a hundred people (something the size of Just Cause 2's island chain would be about right). The goal would be to reach a certain amount of Fame in a set amount of time, or whoever can get the most in that time, measured in real-time. You could set an Episode to allow players a full week of real-time to accrue a thousand Fame points, or you could just make it so that whoever gets the most in an hour wins. What do they win (besides bragging rights)? I think the server would record a player's victories and allow them certain perks on the server like a multiplier for Fame (to represent a returning Cast) or Fast Travel Tokens or something. Having the singleplayer feature is fine too, since all this would be recorded on your Resume where all your stats can be published for all your real-life friends to ogle at, but sometimes you need a buddy to take down those cyber-raptors, you know? PvP would be set per server, and I think you'd just get a percentage of that players current Fame as a reward.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Seriously, this game rocked. I wish I still had it.

With Brightest of (I also like the title Dramacalypse) Greens,
BW

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