I’ve got another game idea I am drafting at the moment, but meanwhile just a reminder that if you like my idea please by all means take it and run with it. Some credit would be nice, but it’s not required.
This is an interesting experiment I thought would be fun to try out as a game. Essentially it would be a virtual stock market with values of stock being controlled by supply and demand. I was thinking it would be best as a Smart Phone app.
You start with say $200 with which to spend on whatever you want. None of the items are real. They are all fake virtual items that you buy with fake virtual money. The value of the items would change daily depending on how many people owned them versus how many where available to purchase. So to start everything would be very cheap, like $1. As the popular items get bought, the value (and the price) of the item would go up. The owners of the items would be able to sell their items back to the “bank” at any time allowing them to make a profit if the value of the item has gone up.
The algorithm for calculating value would be something like:
For each item A
Let x be the total number of unique people that own at least one of A, but not less than $0.01
Let y be the total number of items in the bank (eg. not currently owned by anyone)
Let z be the total number of items (both owned and available)
If y is less than $0.01 then let y be equal to z
Let the value of the item be (y / z) * x
As you may notice the value of the item increases most dramatically the more people own it. If a single person buys all of a specific item the value drops back to $1.00. So no one person will want to own all of anything. Also if there are no more of an item available to buy the value basically becomes the amount of people who own said item.
Then what would really make this interesting is to allow users to add their own items for valuation. My first thought was art and music (maybe wallpaper and ring tones for phones). Very simple digital goods that people could share and see how people like them.
There is a serious question of who would actually play a game like this and the obvious chicken and egg issue of needing players to make the game interesting. I think a secondary motivator would need to be in place. Like rewards for being the richest after a week. Or other hidden surprises like certain items come with special bonuses, sales, or I don’t know spinning wheels.
My mind has wandered quite a bit of late. I am currently being pulled in a lot of different directions. Between starting a new job, planing a wedding, and rehearsals for a show I will be doing in August my free time has become something of a serious commodity.
Here are two ideas I have thought of, but don’t have time to flesh out:
A 2D Diablo like game with the control scheme from YS called Beelzebub. Character creation would be very complex. The standard types are there on the surface for those who don’t care, but for those who want they can dig in and optimize as much as they want. Players can also customize their character and weapons by uploading their own images or they can select from a list of popular avatars and weapons. Again there would be simple presets for players that don’t care to create their own weapons. Leveling gives the traditional boost in stats but also gives the player a choice of a new type of weapon.
Let’s give an example, Billy signs up to play Beelzebub and decides he wants to be a Fighter. He is then given the option to either select an avatar from a list of 4 avatars created by other players or he can create his own. Once he has chosen an avatar he gets assigned a basic weapon based on his class. Since he is a fighter he gets a glove. After Billy reaches level 5 he has a choice to make. He can choose a more powerful glove or he can choose to learn a new technique. Techniques are special powers he can use when fighting. They are also custom designed by other players or himself. Low level techniques mostly effect status (ie slow, silence, or confuse) and high level techniques can cause elemental damage or even death.
That is the basic idea. Still a lot of detail to flesh out.
A text based thief adventure game I’m calling Protozoon. You play as a thief with the ability to phase through solid objects. The setting is a medieval land where a greedy dictator has finally pushed the people too far and a rebellion has begun to form. The thief gets mixed up in the rebellion, but the story ends with him/her learning the origin of their mysterious powers.
This is my first attempt to make use of the story engine I wrote a while back. Players would start by choosing some basic stats. These stats would all revolve around thieving abilities. So think sneaking, climbing, lock picking, pick pocketing, etc. Controls would be simple. You start out with a description of your location and type in commands to try things out. Basic commands would be things like walk, climb, pick lock, etc. Each location would have multiple paths, but require you to choose the best option based on your skills. Your phase ability would have limited uses per level so you would need to use it sparingly.
Here is an example:
Jessica starts up a new game and decides to sink her stat points in climbing, sneaking and perception. This means her chance of performing a successful climb are higher, she is less likely to be detected when sneaking past a person and is more likely to notice minor details. When playing Jessica will want to look out for ways to complete her mission that require scaling buildings or sneaking past people. Her high perception gives her a better chance of noticing things that are relevant to her (ie, walls that are climbable, and guards that need sneaking past).
It is important to note that just because Jessica doen’t have points in certain skills doesn’t mean she can’t try they, it simply means she has a higher chance to fail. In early cases failure ends in minor injuries. Later it can end in death.
There would also be different weapon skills. Since you are a thief my thought is that combat should be very quick. Either you are able to subdue the enemy by killing them, tying them up or rendering them unconscious within a few moves. Some weapons would have varying chances to stun which lasts for one turn and basically gives the attacker the chance to strike again.
This is a demo for a game I am calling “People” (it’s a working title).
Unzip the file, open the new folder and double click the .jar file. Arrow keys to move, the game will tell you the rest.
After watching this video and this video:
I got really inspired to combine the two ideas into something awesome. Imagine a world where the lower your carbon footprint the better drops you find in WoW. What if getting good grades in school gave you access to superior weapons in Call of Duty. The possibilities are endless!
There is one major problem though. Whatever the game is that would first do this would have to be good. Like really good, because otherwise people would just choose to play other games that don’t require them the ride the bus to work every day so they can level up.
An interesting problem that requires more thought…
For those of you who are unaware this week in San Francisco the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) is being held. It is an opportunity for developers from all disciplines and background to come together and talk about making games. This year I decided to attend for the first time and see what all the conference had to offer. So I bought myself a custom made GRH t-shirt, printed out some GRH stickers and signed up for an adventure in game development.
Oh. My. God. Where do I begin? I showed up to GDC having no idea what I was in for. My plan hadn’t really gone past see some talks, show off the new t-shirt maybe pass out some stickers if I’m feeling bold. What I got was so far beyond that I’m still trying to comprehend everything that happened.
I arrived around 11am to find the place swarming with people. Product promoters manned the street corners handing out fliers and free energy drinks. Almost all of them attractive women. Inside I collected my badge and tried to figure out where to go. I had not anticipated there being an entire floor dedicated to recruiting. I wandered the massive space looking at the different booths. Activision was front and center. On the left Blizzard and the right Playstation. Crowds had formed in front of each booth filled with eager men and women of all trades. Wandering deeper revealed the lesser known companies as well as a few of the other big wigs. A both for Capcom, a booth for Nintendo, another for Microsoft, and two booths packed to the brim for Valve and Obsidian. I quickly learned that most of these applicants where students ripe for graduation.
After cutting my teeth with some of the lesser know companies I finally worked up the courage to wait in line for the Valve booth. Initially I had no plans of applying to Valve. I have zero experience programming for AAA titles and I assumed that was a solid prerequisite. However, later in the day I saw signs indicating they were hiring programmers for Steam, since I am a decently experienced web programmer I thought the match seemed like a good one. I waited in line for about half an hour watching as each eager applicant before me was transformed from an optimistic hopeful to a dejected husk skulking away. It seemed Valve was very picky about who they talked to. My fear grew as I approached the front of the line. Would they also reject me? In short, no. In long, I am not totally sure. They asked me to fill out a form and then I sat in a waiting area with about 4 other applicants for roughly an hour. At which point I went up and ask them what was going on. Apparently their only web guy was busy, but they had someone else come in and talk to me instead. The interview lasted about an hour, or at least it felt that way. Nothing terribly technical was asked, I showed him a bunch of my work on his iPad. I especially enjoyed showing off GameReviewHero.com.
As someone who has done many interviews. I know the end of the interview is always weird. You shake hands and say thanks, but generally your not supposed to say anything about whether or not the person got the job. Unless its just you, you are usually not the one who gets to make that call. The end of this interview was no different. It ended and it was recommended that I check out the hiring talks they had every few hours throughout the day. Something they told everyone who spoke to them.
Despite the very anticlimactic end of the interview I felt good. Like I usually do after I spend an hour trying to convince someone that I’m awesome. Writing or talking about every major accomplishment you’ve ever done is a great confidence booster. I wanted more of that natural high so i started talking to more companies. I applied to Blizzard (doing Battle.net stuff) and a company called Backbone that recently did the Sega Collection available on the Playstation Network (and maybe XBL?).
After learning that, during the entire day, I had only looked at about a third of the conference space I spent the last hour checking out the Expo hall. I didn’t see much, but I did run into the co-creator / designer of Super Meat boy Edmund McMillen. I gave him and his wife a sticker.
We are trying to raise money to pay our writers over at GameReviewHero.com. So we set up a fund through 8-bit funding:
We most of the money is for paying writers the rest will be for keeping the company running and some GRH merchandise.
I can’t remember the last time I did one of these. I got this idea after watching an incredibly disappointing Superbowl a few weeks ago. Some people yell and scream at TV when their favorite sports teams lose games. Some people turn to alcohol. Me? I design games to relieve stress. Yes, I realize that sounds like an oxymoron.
This game would be for iOS and Android OS devices.
The closest I can think of would be a sort of RTS puzzler.
I wanted to take the concept of a football play and turn it into a puzzle game. It needs to be simplified at first, but could get progressively more complex. For this game you would only ever play defense. You would start with just one player on each side. You position your one player by touching the screen where you want him to start. After you have positioned him you choose a target for him to defend. The you click start and the play runs, this will happen without any input from you. The opponent will trying to get to the very top of the screen. Your defender must push him out of bounds to prevent this. If you positioned him correctly you should be able to win.
Each level the plays would get more complex. You would get access to different types of players with different abilities. Some might be big and slow, others would be small but fast. The opponent would also get different types of players including a QB which can throw to other players. Only certain players would be able to block passes. Eventually you would work your way up to something resembling a real football plays.
Bonus points for interceptions.
The ability to play offense. Or even get to the point where you play a full game gaining yards switching possession.
I do a lot of research looking for Indie games. Because of Game Review Hero now I find games even when I am not looking for them. It has gotten to the point where I am almost crippled with anxiety when I find a page like this.
It seems innocuous right? A single page with a video and some links to games, but each of the links has a couple links on it. Then you find a site like this one, this one, or this one which has hundreds of games listed and 90% of them are crap…
It often leads down the proverbial rat hole, from the depths of which I find myself steeped in so many free games I’m not sure what to do with myself. I came to a realization today though. These types of sites are a whole new classification in the gaming universe. I have decided to dub them gaming nebulae. Some of them we know about, like Kongregate, New Grounds and ModDB. Some have been around a long time, some of them are larger than others, but all of them have one thing in common: they are troves for finding interesting games to play.
Clearly I will never run out of games to add to Game Review Hero.
Ugh, I found another one.
People are talking about Game Review Hero! First Ian Bogost and several of his followers.
Admittedly not positive, but I think we will get some decent traffic form it anyways. I emailed Ian letting him know what the motivation behind Game Review Hero was all about and he responded with a quick “Good luck with it” which I take as a signal that he doesn’t really mean any ill will towards the sites existence.
I also discovered Orbital Games linked to our site referring to a review of one of their games.
Both of these posts where entirely unsolicited so needless to say we are very excited!