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P-152: Virtual World Concept

by on Sep.14, 2014, under Concepts, Software and Games

My latest idea is for a virtual world very similiar to the Astral Realms project that I was working on some time ago. The idea would be to create a large open world, featuring a seamless terrain (no load zones, fast travel points, etc). Players would spawn at a random location, instead of a central meeting point or hub. They be given the tools to create buildings and leave messages for other players, as well as the ability to terraform and develop the terrain.

The game would have no story, and no real rules, the players would just be left to define their own rules. I intend this to be a social experiment of sorts, to force players to seek out communication with other players, and to hopefully value it more than the constant chatter that most people receive from social media sites, news feeds, apps and games. By reducing the volume of communication, I am hoping to restore it’s value. Receiving a hand written letter once a month, for example, means more than a dozen “likes” or “shares” or short text messages in a day.

However, I don’t want to just force players to wander alone in the wilderness. I want to allow players to met and interact and build cities and infrastructures, to use emergent technoligies to build worlds. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, and trying to figure out a way of doing it. I considered allowing players to upload their own art and texture files, to create their own unique structures and buildings. This is something I am still interested in, but from a security and legal standpoint, there are issues. It would only take one player uploading copyrighted or inappropriate content to get the developers in serious trouble. Additionally, there would be no way to create a consistent art style, or regulate the quality of the art.

I am now working on a concept that I think is quite ambitious. I am going to create many “building blocks” and create system that will allow the player to build their own structures and even vehicles using these buildings blocks. The idea is that the player will be able to select an object, and combine it with other objects. So many types of wall could be built from individual brick objects, many types of fences could be made from the same wooden object. This is what I was already touching on in the original Astral Realms project. However here, I am also adding a physics system to the concept. It will be possible to add objects that apply forces to structures. I am calling these “dynamic” objects. Adding a dynamic object underneath a platform, created a hover board. Adding several creates a simple aircraft. Using a series of simple physics objects and equations I should be able to create a sandbox type world with unlimited possibilities. Combined with the social element and the highly persistent nature of the world, I think this could develop into a very interesting game project.

At the moment, I am testing the various physics concepts of the game. These are going well, I have already created a custom object type based on the item object, removed gravity (I intend to implement all physics equations, including gravity, with my own system) and experimented with collision and impulse forces to the custom objects on their own, and in groups.

PhoenixGameDevelopment07 Sep. 14 20.59


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