Blog: 3/16/2007

Spent some time with the team discussing the plans for the Top Secret forums.

We've been working out a long list of all the major areas we're gonna to need our team to think about, every time I think it's done, I come up with a few more! Argh!

It's a pretty long list now, and I think EVERYONE will find an area that interests them.

I wanted to keep working on that, but had to rush off to a meeting.

I'd promised (months ago) to speak again at my local IGDA Chapter meeting about my experiences so far with MMO games.

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The meeting took place in Westwood college, Anaheim, 7PM.

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This turned out to be a bad idea, as I brought some cool stuff to show (like our Dance game two builds into the future), but due to the really strict net restrictions on campus, I couldn't get a connection out of there, other than to view pre-qualified websites etc. No porn argh! :)

So now I've got a room of people sitting there, a useless net connection, no IT guy (it's late), and 4 hours to kill, so I dove into a presentation I had on my laptop that I gave in Northern Ireland in November.

It actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

For example, the students were designing their own game boxes (with the super important pitch on the back), here's a shot of some of them presenting their ideas. (Tag lines, arwork, team name and all.)

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They did a FANTASTIC job!

Working with people like this makes me realize just how much un-discovered talent is out there.

Some examples of game ideas.

(1) To play as a soldier in an army, in a city that's under a massive heavy dangerous attack. The invaders plan to seize control of your cities and land and change everything to their regime. Now you personally, you actually like this idea, your world kinda sucks (sorry, but it does). So your job is to SEEM (pretend) to fight on the side of your army, but actually you're carefully trying to weaken them, to expose them to ambushes, to bring attention to them when they are trying to be stealthy, if it's just a few guys left, you turn on them yourself etc. Basically to make sure your side loses, so you can become part of this new world. It's a cool twist (on the typical first person shooter) and I can immediately see some cool (fresh) gameplay coming out of that.

(2) To have control of time, so that centuries can change at the flick of a button (in realtime). So you can be running down a street, getting attacked and bombed by fighter planes. When you think you're completely screwed, you flick the switch, the world shimmers, bubbles and animates all around you (think the old Time Machine movie), then suddenly a Tyrannosaurus Rex runs across the street being chased by an army of other dinosaurs (without loading.) Meaning you are playing in multiple time zones at the same time, taking items from one time to another to use them completely out of time context. Again, it gives me a ton of ideas.

(3) One idea I thought of (on the way there), was for Xbox Live or PS3. You earn store credits if you leave your PS3 turned on (for example.) This is kinda how SETI works (the search for extra terrestrial intelligence) , well without the payment. For SETI you can run a program, then leave your PC running and it shares it's processing power to their research. No imagine Sony started a bank of maybe 1,000 of these SLAVE PS3's and then users all over the world did the same thing (for virtual credits). With the help of time zones spreading out the usage spikes around the world, this means there would be tons of processors just waiting to help out with your game experience. It's something we don't really consider (having insane computational power) so I'm sure designers would really get a kick out of thinking of cool uses. Just imagine (as an example) that every NPC in your game is powered by an entire Playstation 3. So they can completely understand speech (really understand it) and form intelligent sentences in response, they could also think, remember, learn and generate new "creative" solutions to problems etc. It could be fun. The flight simulator dudes would freak, knowing that everything around them is correctly simulated, creating richer worlds than you could ever afford to generate on hardware you personally own.

Anyway, just hanging out with students is fun, it makes you think, and so I HIGHLY recommend (if you're a professional in the business), to give up some time to help these people. They really appreciate it, and don't think for a minute that it's only a one-way exchange.

You can sign up to your local chapter here: CLICK HERE

David Perry.


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