[MUD-Dev] Action Figures

Tom Gordon cro at alienpants.com
Wed May 11 19:05:50 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

John Buehler wrote:,
> Tom Gordon writes:
>> John Buehler wrote:

>> We did some preliminary design work on this type of MMO
>> environment back in 2002, but given we're not an MMO developer,
>> we only got as far as the design stage Igame play, gameplay
>> types, unit types, world design/interaction, server
>> jumping/synching/linking, multiple access clients, that sort of
>> thing). We did run up some sample images, and get a very simple
>> prototype working in an engine, but when we approached various
>> developers/publishers with the idea, none were interested.

>> We've been sitting on the concept and detailed design documents
>> for the past few years, waiting until we can raise the money
>> ourselves to start proper development - as usual a very (very)
>> slow process :)

> Would you care to say more about the spirit of gameplay?  I'm
> curious to know what kind of entertainment you and your team think
> an action-figure-based game would be best suited to.  Who is the
> audience?  What reasons, if any, did the developers and publishers
> give you for their lack of interest?  Did you approach any
> traditional toy or game companies?

> There's a new competitor for Barbie called Bratz.  The
> manufacturer might be interested in a virtual setting for girls to
> play with their dolls.  Or Mattel might be interested in bringing
> Barbie to the next level in response.  Or a failed competitor of
> both might be interested in going virtual.

The design was less about using actual action figures, as applying
the concept you described and attributed to action figures. The
avatars in the game were not meant to be representations of the real
players, they were designed to be representations of what role
within the game environment the player was taking.

The thought we had at the time was based around the concept of
telerobotics, where each player would control a different robot
depending on what task they were currently undertaking. When your
avatr was damaged you could snap off and replace parts, or you could
effectively dismiss the avatar and take control of a new one.

We approached the gameplay from an action perspective, as at the
time this was the leading genre (which it still is in many ways),
although I guess the basic concept still holds - it was a removal of
the player from being the avatar, to the player controlling the many
different avatars, each specialised, but each adaptable based on
items that could be found or otherwise acquired.

Hmmm... The concept of a Bratz-style (or Barbie style) game is
intriguing though. Not entirely sure how it would work - I'm not
sure Toon Town works as an MMO - the gameplay is incredibly
repetitive and simplistic, but with Bratz it could almost be a
collection-oriented game, & I can see scope there for combining
collection and exploration activities with trading and avatar
modification activities.

Similar in overall concept to what we were hoping to do.

Tom Gordon
AlienPants Ltd
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