Thoughts on the future of computer games
Good day, Habr!
Recently I have been thinking a lot about the development of computer games and their place in our future, and decided that it was time to share some thoughts on this subject.
Immediately make a reservation that I am not a gamer, nor a professional game developer. If this does not stop you - welcome to cat.
That is how I imagine the generalized structure of new computer games. And in some ways, it reminds me of the structure of essences in ancient Greek mythology ...
I’ll talk about the idea and scheme a bit later, but for now, the background.
Once, playing one famous MMORPG, I thought that it would be interesting not only to complete tasks created by developers, but to give users the opportunity to create new quests themselves, assign rewards, etc.
In fact, the main (in my opinion) problem in modern MMORPGs is their extreme predictability and uniformity. And this is not surprising. After all, no matter how large and effective the development team was not - they cannot complement the game as quickly as the players go through it. As a result, the gameplay is delayed, it becomes boring and monotonous. And millions of users complete the same quest sequences in the same way ...
With the “visibility” of a single world with many players creating a common story, we essentially have a separate “world” for each user. Everyone runs along it, and although they see other players - they are nothing more than shadows, and the possibilities for interacting with them are very limited (with the exception of group attacks).
Suppose we added this functionality: any player can stand anywhere on the map and leave his “clone” (a translucent copy of the character) equipped with a quest (the user writes the text, determines the task and the reward), as well as the number of times the quest can be to fulfill. Later, any other player can complete the quest and collect the reward until the quest is completed a certain number of times.
For example, for a new potion, I need mushrooms growing in a dark forest. Near the forest I leave a "clone", with a quest in which I ask you to collect 10 fly agarics, for 100 coins and clothes. If desired, I write the text (to the best of my imagination), and I also set the number of quests to complete 5 times. I leave 500 coins and 5 any belongings from the inventory, and go on business.
In a day I come, pick up the mushrooms (if the conditions were adequate) and rejoice.
It would seem - nothing new, you can do the same at a regular auction. But not really.
Such a change immediately diversifies the life within the game. It will not be possible to predict exactly where, how to play better, and what chain of quests to take.
And if you ensure the need to create quests, for example, by racial advantages (an alchemist can make potions from mushrooms, but only an elf knows how to collect them) - the variety will increase.
At the same time, well-designed quests from the developers will be able to take into account multi-way chains of user quests to complete them, which again diversifies the game.
Another example. The user found that mushrooms from the dark forest, which novice players would love to collect, could sell the guilds of alchemists on the neighboring continent threefold (swim where only high-level heroes can go). Having created a clone, he picks mushrooms and, visiting him once a day, picks up the cargo and carries it to the continent. However, dangling back and forth bothers him. He buys a “warehouse” on the ocean, creates another clone, and announces a quest to transport mushrooms from the first clone to a warehouse on the shore. When he visits the warehouse once a week, he immediately transfers 5,000 mushrooms on the ship. But he can also get rid of this by creating a third clone ...
Having thought over the transport system (up to 100 units - it fits into the inventory, 100-1000 - you need a chest, 1000-5000 - a ship, etc.) you can further diversify the game.
Over time, trade channels, corporations (guilds with a trade bias), large markets can appear in the game ...
This will inevitably lead to pirate attacks on caravans, and they, in turn, will lead to the emergence of escort services. In which traitors will certainly "comb themselves" ... etc. :)
All this, with almost no additional effort from the developers. Rather, their efforts will shift from thinking through each player’s step — to creating some initial conditions in which the game and gameplay grows.
I think a lot of the described is already being applied in some form in various games, but the essence of the idea is to put such a principle “in the center” of game mechanics.
A lot of ideas remained behind the scenes (for example, the constructor for creating a quest by a user), but I would also like to talk about games in general.
Imagine a classic single-player game. Its “device” can be characterized by such a scheme.
That is, the developers have created game mechanics (laws of the world), and game objects (environment). During the game, the environment somehow affects the player. The longer the player lasted, the more points he received.
When playing, it may seem that the player is acting on the objects of the game (shoots, opens doors, etc.) - but these are “imaginary changes”. In fact, shots are just another way to dodge enemies. The player (with rare exceptions) cannot somehow reconfigure the level.
Consider other types of games.
For example, the classic MMORPG looks almost the same.
The essence is the same, but there is a limited ability to interact with each other (to unite against enemies).
And, for example, what would the classic Tetris scheme look like in this approach?
According to the scheme, the fundamental difference between such games is immediately clear. Here the objects (environment) are created by the user himself. And developers only formulate game mechanics (laws of the world and properties of the game space).
For classical Tetris, laws will determine the form of elementary elements, control, field size, the disappearance property of certain combination of objects, and the dependence of the rate of fall on the number of missing blocks.
Today, Minecraft is widely spread as a game with a non-standard structure. We'll see.
A thin line from objects to players means that players are somewhat dependent on objects (for example, you can die in a game). However, this connection is very weak. Therefore, Minecraft is, in fact, a constructor. Very interesting, addictive, unusual, but constructor.
It would be interesting to see the development of this connection - for example, if you add different types of weapons to the game and divide the players into two camps to arrange an “eternal confrontation” ... Maybe, of course, something similar already exists, but I have not seen it.
It is curious, by the way, that a game such as the Sims fits into the Minecraft scheme quite accurately. There, the player also forms his own environment and plays in it. In this game, the feedback (from objects to the player) is much stronger than in Minecraft, but other gameplay features prevent the potential of the underlying principle from being revealed.
Developing these ideas, we must strengthen the connection from objects to players, but the question arises: if we assume that the players themselves form the playing space, then we need to make this process somehow manageable. So that each player does not "pull the blanket over himself." A certain ranking system is needed, like the principle of authors on Wikipedia, which will allow us to observe the general vector of development.
Considering that some users, in addition to the usual game (game objects -> players), will be engaged in the development of the game world (players -> game objects), we must create tools that determine the player’s rating, which will affect his ability to change the world.
This rating is likely to be determined by the players themselves, as a result of some voting mechanism. Moreover, both ordinary players and “creators” and “observers” (a group of players who can watch a game without taking an active part in it) can take part in the vote.
In general, “observers” are not a separate group. As well as creators who can be ordinary players at the same time, observers can also be players. I select them only to show the function of this role - to evaluate the players and thus bring additional balance to the game.
In this case, the "creators" may have different specializations. Someone will improve in constructing diagrams of elementary objects, someone will influence the laws of interaction of these elements, someone will influence storylines and events, someone will deal with the interaction of creators with each other and between players ...
This whole scheme reminds me the ancient world with its mythology. The pantheon of Greek gods - as an analogue of the collection of "creators" of different directions with the highest rating. Various mythical creatures with power over the structure of the world - as creators. Warriors / merchants / kings / ... are ordinary players. Heroes - combining the "combat principle" with the "creative", etc ...
Of course, it’s interesting to imagine a big game, like Second Life, by such principles (the principles of Second Life itself are very similar, but there are differences), but I think that if the approach is correct, you can probably come up with a simple game, with it .
And it seems that my brother and I managed to come up with an original model of the game for such a scheme. If this is interesting to the community, I will outline it in the next article.