[MUD-Dev] pluggable MMOGs

John Robert Arras johna at wam.umd.edu
Wed Apr 9 06:17:04 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

On Tue, 8 Apr 2003, ceo wrote:

> Is anyone working on / thought about an MMOG based upon pluggable
> sub-games?

> and make each level an entirely different game. So, e.g. for
> Terminator 2 - IIRC - one level was a bit like a car-racing game,
> recreating the scene where you were on the motorbike trying to
> escape the truck. The next level was a sideways scrolling
> beat-em-up, etc etc.

The closest modern equivalent I know of are games like Crash
Bandicoot for consoles. There are many different play modes where
you pretend to use various kinds of vehicles to go through levels.

> The problem with such games was that they were massively
> disjointed and there was no feeling of any relationship between
> different levels;

The stories in games are usually pretty thin anyway, but that's not
the point. I don't play games like that for the story anyway. Well,
the only games that I really like to play for the story are single
person RPGs.  If you allow people to keep their characters and
whatever they take out of the levels, I think they'll be happy with

> But it occurred to me a while ago that - with a lot of effort on
> the designers' part - this could provide an extra dimension of
> "expanding content". Raph etc have done to death (mostly very
> eloquently with lots of good examples :)) the pros, cons,
> impossibilities and inevitabilities of the standard view(s) of
> game content for MMOGs. But with this kind of game design, you can
> view gameplay itself as "just another form of content".

I am restricting my ideas to games where you play a "character", but
the games like Crash let you walk around in some cases, fly planes,
go underwater, drive tanks and cars and do all kinds of things with
different vehicles in different levels. It gives designers ways to
create different kinds of content based on different play modes. The
best part of it is that it doesn't have to make sense. There's a
play mode in Crash that lets you roll around inside of a big ball as
you push on it. Does it make sense? No. Is it fun? Yes.

One of my long-term goals is to figure out how to generate levels
for things like this, based on templates for each kind of vehicle
and play mode. Since generation doesn't provide good results always,
I was figuring that I could generate a lot of maps, then let players
use them and rate them, and the ones that get rated the highest
stay, and the ones that get rated the lowest go. Of course, players
being players, they would probably pick the ones with the most loot
for the least effort, but that's ok. :)

> I'm not asking "Is this possible? Is it worth it?" - the answers
> are obviously yes and yes - but just wondering if anyone's
> actually DOING it.

Nope. I think it would be cool to see a game where if you go into
the water you don't drown. Instead, a boat pops into existence under
you, and if you go down while on the water, you don't drown, but
instead a submarine or scuba gear pops into existence around you and
you happily go exploring, or you zone into another area when you
make those transitions.  It's not as general as what you may be
thinking about, but it doesn't make sense and isn't consistent and
gives players a lot of little games and adventures to go on using
all kinds of fun gadgets just because.

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