The never ending story – the game

How about making a never ending a game by constantly creating meaningful goals.

Would it be possible to create a game were the world was conscious to the players actions? In this game, the world reacts to the player differently as the player accomplished their goals, be it quest objectives, story driven, exploration driven,  or maybe even achievement based? With each new reaction, the world would be evolving in a sense. The NPCs would treat the player differently, maps could be reshaped possibly, and the players goal would be related to the changes made to the world.

(Minecraft maps are famously known for their procedural generation, revealing new areas as the player explores further)

Should this world house massive amounts of players or should it hold a handful? If it housed a massive amount, it could be a metaphor for how everyone’s actions  has an effect on the larger picture. If majority of the players make similar choices in the game, the world would respond to it. Like how millions of people rode the bus or carpooled, it would cut down on carbon emission into the atmosphere. Could experiencing these world wide changes in the game from even small choices made make the player feel the impact of their choices? Would they see that every action has a consequence (good or bad) and maybe be able to relate that to their real lives?

So maybe the goals given to these massively online player should relate to how the world evolved (or maybe de-evolved). Would that make the players form factions for certain choices or would it become chaotic impulses for choices made? Should these choices be from completing the goal or simply choices made along the way? Would groups of players have undesirable views on how the world evolved this time? Could the undesirable changes, motivate other players to change that some how?

(MMO’s now a days have Raid events which can shape the story or the world based on who wins in a match)

Would this fun to players? Being a world that is dictated by their choices and other players. A world that recognizes each player, or recognizes all of the players as a group. Reacting to them based on the history of changes to the world. Would players be engaged by having NPCs praise them or despise them for how the world had evolved? In some games just having the world react to the player at all makes it all the more interesting. How many people were excited in GTA when they gained more cops stars and eventually had a city wide man hunt after them. The gradual raising of it all made GTA so good. The thinking was how many more laws do I break until I get cop cars chasing me, then to SWAT teams, then to helicopters, then maybe the military after me?

(The Infamous series is known for having civilians praise the hero or form mobs to attack him if his karma is extremely good or evil)

If the player realizes their choices impact the world, but now which choices, would that make each action a meaningful choice to them? If you knew that stepping ant, would incite an ant hives vengeance upon you, wouldn’t you avoid ant hills then? Could players enjoy an experience while examining each corner for how it may change the games world? I guess on some level, the players need to understand the hidden mechanics on how the world changes. Or even given a small view on a few things they do that affect the world, because then it would be a game about figuring out the game (hmm sounds like a card game called Mao ). There can be motivation in frustrating games, if the player feels they are figuring out the pattern bit by bit.

(Mao, a card game where the first rule is to not tell anyone the rules)

 All in all, can a game like this be created? Would it be possible to make a massively online experience were the structures, entities that inhabit it, or NPCs are being changed after the players achieve some major goal. And what dictates these changes are based on the players choices. All the while having the game react to the players based on the changes made after each evolution of the world. Well after so many questions, the vision of it seems clearer.

Any who thank you for reading this thought piece. Please comment below, if it was random, unfinished, maybe heading in the right direction or just a bunch of malarkey~!

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4 thoughts on “The never ending story – the game

  1. Your blog has a lot of questions. Many rhetorical, but all great questions either way. I was hoping you would discuss some of the questions in more detail in the beginning but at the same time, it seems you were using the questions to lead to the next topic (of questions). I think your examples are great, especially because you provide pictures for context Evolving worlds are absolutely astounding in their creation, development and overall growth. I feel like World of Warcraft does a reasonably good job of responding to player actions but I guess that’s only on a larger scale. I’m not sure, but it seems you’re talking about every single decision affecting the world like Fables system. I agree though – a world so responsive would be akin to that of an extremely capable AI processing every player’s actions and ranking their actions on various scales.

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  2. I don’t know. I feel I have more question now. Meaningful goals depends, depends on different people, personality, life experience, loves…etc. Yes, you are right. Maybe when people see their simple choices have affected the world massively, they could feel something different. However, they could still be careless of what they have done to this world. Too many questions for me to understand the real meaning behind, I would love to talk to you face to face about this topic. Thanks!

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  3. Hey! I think you raise some interesting questions in this post. I think maybe a theoretical narrative of some kind that strings them together might strengthen your post–you give specific scenarios like anthills, etc. that make me think that you are considering some small details of what this experience might actually be. What if you set this piece up as though you’re actually beginning the game and imagining what it might look and feel like? You don’t need to have all the details, but I think your questions could be specific scenarios that you could explore as though they’re statements. Anyway, props for going out on a limb here and trying to push into new territory.

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  4. This is an interesting concept and one I have personally discussed with individuals as an aim for the games I will create for some time. However I don’t think this can really be implemented on an MMO level, as the games are just so large and the cost in both time and money to individualize the experience to this extent for every player would just not be feasible.

    However thinking of it on a more local scale, you have to divide this player reaction of the software into two categories. First is environment and second is people. Both should react and change with the players actions but both in different ways. Both present their own unique challenges. If the environment is going to react does that mean that the player has the direct ability to change it (minecraft)? Or will their actions simply lead to an alternative environment (Skyrim).

    And just to end this though I’m not sure of a technical way you can do this without a massively developed branching decision tree, which is a structural challenge to doing this. But like I said I share your ambition and I hope it can be done.

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