Thought Experiment: Cliche-free Game Design

 
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Zephen_Descartes



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:58 am    Post subject: Thought Experiment: Cliche-free Game Design Reply with quote

If you had to design a game free of the standard MUD/game cliches such as warriors, mages, clerics, russians, nazis, orcs, vampires, werewolves, dragons, etc, what would it be? What would the gameplay be like? What would the theme be like? What might players find fun about your new game that they may not be able to with other MUDs?


Note: I've read KaVir's Ice Age thread, please don't use it as your example unless you are KaVir. I'm interested in seeing what everyone can come up with outside of the norm. Just for clarity's sake, we'll say magic is allowed, but the cliche ways of interfacing with it are not.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There were also quite a few good ideas in the Design Notebook: themes thread, and my four suggestions (Ice Age, The immortals, Nightlife and The Hunters) cover what I'd consider to be some of my 'best' theme ideas.

However I don't think you need to avoid the typical races in order to create a non-cliched game. For example dragons are pretty much a staple of the fantasy genre, but I'd still love to see a mud where everyone played a dragon, and gameplay revolved around terrorising human settlements, eating virgins tied to stakes, and protecting your treasure hoard from knights in shining armour.

I don't feel that renaming 'dragon' to 'zilant' would make said game feel any more original.
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Kelson



Joined: 18 May 2005
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Location: SC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone plays a monster in an alternate realm. In that realm, the monsters are not allowed to fight one another, though they can chill in their own skin. Monsters gain more power by controlling humans; moving them to a secret (or well defended) lair in the human realm. The one caveat is if any human notices a monster (and can recognize they are such), the monster is banished back to the monster realm (perhaps with other penalties as well).

One can imagine some interesting competitions arising out of this conflict. When two monsters fight, it'd have to either be in secret - carefully watching no humans come near even as they seek to destroy one another - or while one or both of them are preventing the nearby humans from noticing them (through illusions, temporary charm spells, distractions, etc). Half the fight might focus on causing humans to notice your opponent to banish them back to the monster realm.
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chaos



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 35
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ecological game where each player controls a species. Will Wright sort of thing, some shades of SimEarth and Spore but competitive multiplayer, and not just single creatures like that virtual lifeform sim from the 90s whose name I can't remember. Different strategies for bacterial and viral players (balance between reproducing yourself and killing your hosts, symbiotic approaches), herbivores, carnivores; can make it more interesting by supporting creation of novel biological strategies and settings.
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Daemo



Joined: 13 May 2005
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chaos wrote:
not just single creatures like that virtual lifeform sim from the 90s whose name I can't remember.

Creatures? (1, 2 and 3)
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chaos



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
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Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daemo wrote:
Creatures? (1, 2 and 3)


Not the one I was thinking of, but no, not like that either. Smile
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Zephen_Descartes



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think KaVir brings up a good point as far as cliche races go. This thought experiment doesn't necessarily require you to completely rule them out, but to not use them in a cliche way. The proposed dragon game for instance sounds like a fun new concept.


As for my own concept, I'll throw out one I came up with a day or so ago. Mine would be an RTS game where each unit has a number of bars that make it up. Aggression, Health, Education, Physical, Spirituality, etc. There'd be a number of points that can be put into each for a given unit, and you can unlock more points or larger thresholds for a particular stat through research.

There would likely be a few somewhat cliched units such as Swordsmen, Archers, etc, but they would just be made up from the basic stats and just a tweak to the configuration could create new units. You create a building that lets you use 5 more points in a given unit design and build a library to increase your education threshold. Now you can copy the Swordsman template, boost the education rating, and suddenly you have a Fencer who may gain new more stylistic moves, or better leadership capabilities when marked as the leader of a squad.

Or, if you'd rather go for a more hardcore style you might instead build gladiator pits to boost your aggression thresholds, reduce that Swordsman's health, and education points and funnel them all into aggression, physical, and a tiny bit of spirituality. Voila, you have a berserker of sorts. He'll attack with little to no fear, shunning defensiveness for all out offensive. He'd likely use less points than a Fencer due to not fulfilling all the thresholds, and thus would be quicker and cheaper to produce. Custom tailored Zerg rush, in essence.

This particular game would be played between 2 to 4 players or against AI with a starcraft/warcraft style more than the Civ/Lords of the Realm style. Your setup would be non-persistent and thus only last until the end of the war. I imagine there'd be a certain amount of discovery in analyzing your opponents troops and figuring out the best way to counter them in design. It'd need a quick designing interface, but also enough space between armies that players can have a bit of time to put some thought into things.


Funny, I intended for this just to be a short post. Hopefully it's at least food for thought for some of you though. What other game designs do you think you could come up with if you were unencumbered by the cliche themes/styles?
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jmurph



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hrm, so a game with Russians, dragons, Nazis, and vampires is cliche' now?
I never knew weird WW2 had gotten so popular! And here I was wishing that there was a game out there where I could grab a flamethrower and light up some 3rd Reich zombies while my buddy with the Lee Enfield snipes out that Wulfen Korps monstrosity (with silver bullets, of course). God forbid there is an isenmensch walking around- as bad as a werewolf is, at least they don't sport quad MGs and rockets!

I am so out of the loop.....
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ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 105
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmurph wrote:
Hrm, so a game with Russians, dragons, Nazis, and vampires is cliche' now?
I never knew weird WW2 had gotten so popular!


Very Happy -- my dream mud is now a smorgasbord server where I can play Ice Age Race War, Weird WW2, and Weird West, and points earned in one world is transferable to another.

Can you say, blow up that lich with a landmine so you can buy a gatling gun to take out the Pit of Succubi so you can bring down the Mastodon with Ogg the caveman?
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Zephen_Descartes



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ide wrote:

Very Happy -- my dream mud is now a smorgasbord server where I can play Ice Age Race War, Weird WW2, and Weird West, and points earned in one world is transferable to another.

Can you say, blow up that lich with a landmine so you can buy a gatling gun to take out the Pit of Succubi so you can bring down the Mastodon with Ogg the caveman?


That actually sounds like it could be pretty interesting as a time travel game. Travel through different points in history/dimensions to get tools to beat boss mobs in each dimension. Collect the old relics from the Wild Wild West to take down the genetically engineered super beast that resides in an EMP zone. Could even make for a somewhat abstract but fun puzzle to plan. I know you were half joking, but it's got a bit of potential Wink.
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quixadhal



Joined: 17 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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chaos



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
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Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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