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P-152: Virtual World Concept Update 5

by on Oct.06, 2014, under Astral Realms, Concepts, Musings, Software and Games

In addition to the low-level work I have done with the physics concept, I have also been working on  a high-level specification for this project. I have decided to create a virtual world with an emphasis on realism. I intend to model such variables as hunger, thirst, sleep, shelter, and hypo- and hyper- thermia. The player would be spawned in a random location of a large free world, and their primary aim would be to survive as well as they can. The variables of the world are based in a large part on Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, which outlines the physical, social, and self-actualising needs of every human being. The object of the world then is not just to keep your avatar alive, but to thrive as a complete person, similiar to real life.

To achieve this level of realism, I will need to depart from traditional RPG’s in many respects.Death, for example, will be either permanent, requiring the player to create a new character and start the game from scratch, or will feature some lengthy time penalty before they can reenter the world. Character will need to sleep for realisitic periods of time. I am thinking of a 1:4 ratio between real world time and game time, which means 1 hour real time will equal four hours of game time. To allow a character to sleep for long enough to be completely refreshed, a player will therefore have to wait at least two full hours, a big difference from the brief screenfade of most rpg’s.

The world will be filled with the ingredients for survival, minerals, raw materials, plants, trees, and animals. The player will need to learn to survive as our ancestors did. They would begin with no tools or equipment, and would have to find food by foraging for berries, drinking water from streams, etc. They would then learn how to use sharpened stick to dig for edible roots, or to fashion spears to hunt for small game animals. They could create pots or jugs from certain kinds of earth, and use them to store or boil water, allowing them to travel further from water sources. They would then develop the ability to make shelter, clothing, and more complex food. Eventually, they could construct much more advanced structures and even vehicles. This is where the physics concept that I am working on now would come in. Players could travers the world far more quickly and easily with a vehicle than on foot.

The game would be multiplayer, however the intended spareness of the world would create a very different dynamic to most multiplayer games. Most social networks and multiplayer games aim to make it as easy as possible for players to meet and communicate. Users are bombarded with useless information in the form of “likes”, “shares” and “tags”. By bucking this trend, I hope to create a place where communciation has great value, and interactions carry more meaning. Contrast receiving a hand-written letter with a “like” on a status that you posted.

Players would meet up with other players, form parties and bands to aid in each others survival. Other players would discover them, and then others, and in time, settlements, towns, and villages would form. This would be the beginnings of a virtual society. The project could be a case-study of human civilisation, and human interactions.

I don’t want to clude player vs player conflict in the game, at least not at the moment. I feel this would seriously and adversly affect the dynamic of the game, and turn it into a “shooter” type game. Players would never know who to trust, and it would ruin the social aspect. Instead, I intend to represent conflict by including AI-controlled enemies

The game will feature an extensive character creator, as well as an advanced chat and user interaction system. I also intend to include many elements derived from the old MUD’s (Multi User Dungeons, text-based precursors to todays graphical RPG’s) which will allow characters to delve much more deeply into the fabric of the world. Instead of just a graphical avatar, players will hae access to a complex character bio, with user-editable and non-editable components. The player will be able to establish and modify a backstory, a complete fiction for their character and their interactions with the world and with other players. The non-editable section would contain information about the players current state (healthy, injured, sick, etc) their deeds and achievements, and possibly information regarding their reputation. In this way, a lot more information can be learned about a character than could ever be contained in a graphical avatar alone, even in an expensive modern RPG.




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