Friday, December 21, 2007

Players' cities

There's time when an idea just pop out of nowhere and slam into your face, almost pushing you into a state of divine illumination. Well, maybe not that much but still...

I was trying to figure out a way to allow players to put various items in the world like lakes, fountains, statues, ... without them throwing out the window the design of the world. That's when I figure it out.

As it is right now, players can use a building blueprint (or a building packed-up) on any zone (well, those not restricted to GM and admin). When a building is created, a key is put into the character's inventory, linking the character to the building.

What if I'd use the same process to allow players' cities. Players' would become unable to place buildings in the world zone but would receive the possibility to put cities instead. Players would then be able to put buildings only in those cities.

Cities could work the same way buildings currently do. Instead of seeing a building, players would an image representing a city. By right clicking on it, they would "enter" the city, just like they would enter a building. Once inside, instead of showing the design of a house, grass, dirt, water would be shown. So in the end, the city would be in fact just like a big building in which we can put other buildings.

From there, permits to place a house could be sold, city expansion blueprints could be crafted (to create more zone for the city) and the owner of the city would be free to carefully design an outside setting or just screw it up without breaking anything from the "big" world.

The good news is that I don't really have much to do to allow this since the mechanic already exist for buildings. Some changes need to be done at some level but nothing here is breaking the design.

I'm giving myself some time to think about it, to figure out if I'll add this or not. This would be the biggest change from my initial goal but I also feel like this would be one of the most interesting feature.

Since the beginning I never pushed away the possibility that the first game I'd make with this framework would be similar to one of those gameless-games. The reason is the amount of work require to get this project on it's feet. If I throw in more game mechanics like PvP, quests, weapons, spells ... I might have a hard time releasing something stable in the next year (I'd like to aim for spring for first release).

I already hear some people saying "glorified chatroom ahead!!!". Well, that could be a nice name for my first release :-P

The way I see it: one step at a time, small and functional is better than big and bugged. Anyway, when I suddenly feel (again) an urge to go back to SWG just to make myself a crafter and run my small casual business, I'd bet I'm not the only one in this set of mind.


Poo Bear said...

Some of the old MUDs used to let you do this kind of thing. As a programmer this sounds cool and well worth blowing the schedule for :) As a player though, I wonder ...

If the player was making dungeons and setting up quests and mini battle arenas, etc AND the tools were easy and quick to use (most important) then I would be very excited.

If it's more of a social space for people just to hang out then I don't know, I suppose second life is like that. You would need to have mechanisms to attract players into it. Ideally it would be nice if it connected somewhere or there was something interesting in it people wanted. That way you'd get a "passing trade" as the shopkeepers say and be able to promote the space and get a group together.

Conan has a city type metagame with battles over player built cities. I think it's just npc attackers though, which is a good thing as I wouldn't want to log on one day with a thriving city and then the next it's a burning ruin.

Linkrealms does something similar to your idea apparently. There's a brief explanation on point6 of the faq.

I signed up for the beta to check it out, but haven't got in yet.

Over00 said...

Well, again, my idea is close to SWG players' cities system. Just another system similar to a guild system.

It's true that in the end it doesn't add much but in fact, it's really just a safe way to let players affect the landscape. And by the popularity of the city system in SWG, I guess that even if it's not really content in itself that it might still be popular.

Houses are a feature a lot of players like and it's mostly why it might cause problems. In SWG, there's some places that there's so much houses that it just look silly. My idea of cities will lower the number of players' structure in the "real" world.

By forcing players to put their house inside a city that occupy only a small portion of the territory, it will probably be much easier to keep some order in the whole world and not have hundreds of houses surrounding a place of interest. By keeping the establishment of a city hard to do (may it be just expensive or something else), that might solve the problem.

Bertha said...

You write very well.