Monday, November 10, 2008

How much science should we pour in?

OK, I basically like the idea of adding a layer of realism to our game. In fact I was reading an article in GD Magazine a while ago and it was a call for developers not to underestimate their player's intelligence, basically when we are doing something unrealistic it should not seem that we "forgot about it" or "did not know" but rather that we decided to do it that way.

I also like the idea in freelancer where you get all those sort of strange items and technologies that you use right away (e.g. nanobots) without needing to know how or why they function, but you have a glossary that lists and explains everything in more detail for those interested.

Blake's idea of moving wormholes around sounds like it could add real gameplay value, if used correctly. Imagine placing wormholes in strategic areas to prevent enemies from coming through in the opposite direction. However, I do not think the player should be able to drop them on the fly. I like the fuel suggestions as well and using energy as backup for currency. But these do not make much difference in gameplay.

As far as details of attacks go, I do not think we should go so deep as to explain why a specific laser frequency is invalid at play time. But we can do it in the glossary to exapline why laser type X can not be stopped by shield Y. Some RPGs display a lot of details after each attack including rolls and chances, etc... which we could make optional if many people think that such info should be visible to the player. I for one do not care much about reading numbers while I'm playing... but then again, maybe that's because I'm a mathematician.

I feel that many of Blake's ideas can be implemented without requiring much complications of the gameplay (or development), if we focus on getting things done that do not conflict with the laws of physics and perhaps refer to the most striking of them in conversations between chrarcters:
"You know, my grandfather told me that diamonds were once regarded as a valuable gem."
"No way!"
"Seriously, he lived back on Earth."
"Ah, I see. So they were goverened by the restricted local supply and demand laws of their little planet. I wish I could see Earth one day."

I do not see anything technically different yet and unless we get a concrete design of how things would work if things are changed we won't have reasons to believe it would be any more difficult.

So if you, content guys, can work this out into one coherent updated design that you feel is better and will attract more players (without much work load), then go ahead and give it a shot.

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