Monday, August 01, 2005

Recovering From a Brainstorm

I took a couple of car trips to Atlanta this past weekend and had some time to kill, so I took my Dad's digital voice recorder with me and took about 45 minutes worth of notes. I just finished transcribing them into a mindmap and am sifting through them in an effort to put together some good posts about the experience. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Can the Vyde engine be modeled after an OS?
  • How are simulations made to stay compelling over time? Does a simulation without boundaries constitute a compelling experience?
  • NPCs — their actions, dialogue, location, inventory, and relationships to the environment — need to be describable via one or more XML files, which are placed in a known location, where the engine will discover the data and integrate it into the game, seamlessly and silently.
  • How can pools of water be plausible in an infinite, side-scrolling underground space? I like the idea of being able to swim through pools and surface in another area, but the resulting environment would make no physical sense. Can plausibility be sacrificed in this case for the sake of fun?
  • With regard to story, what kind of theological elements would be interesting? What if "the surface", which we'll never see (more on that later), has a mystic, holy quality to it?
  • Minigames!
  • Engine needs to be able to maintain a queue of items that need to be given spawn priority. Discovering certain things in the world should add other things to the spawn queue, for discovery later. This would facilitate scenarios such as the player finding a fortress key but not the fortress to go with it (yet), or vice-versa.
  • Could corruption in data files be compartmentalized and isolated, then rendered in the game as a cave-in?
  • Games nowadays need to adopt the same customizability paradigms that we're seeing in programs like Firefox. Let the entire game be parametric.

All for now. I've got a lot of braindump to work through, so more posts will be forthcoming.


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