Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Radical Concept

Originally written 18 March 2009.
So I was reading through Daniel Cook's blog at Lost Garden about paintbox games. Danc is one of my former coworkers from Anark and one of the most brilliant individuals I've ever had the opportunity to know. He has an incredible talent of being able to synthesize global concepts from a number of disparate ones - like taking quantum mechanics, audio, global financial markets, and user interface design and coming up with a way of examining Nintendo. He boggles my mind, actually.
One of the things he said really made me sit up and take notice. In a blog from 2006 of all things, I found the following in his description of paintbox games: "The player can build or assemble something new and unique to the world." This got me thinking about Project Samantha, of course. One of the things that I have been working on lately is the list of artifacts that are available in the game. This began as the basic list of "mana gems" and moved into "affinity stones" and then into "creature body parts" (being like a Red Dragon's Claw). One thing that I liked from the origianl AD&D was the whole idea of people creating various artifacts (Machine of Lum the Mad). I began creating a list of mythical people from the game's past (including some obvious ones like Eisus (Susie spelled backwards) and some other that are names of characters I made for D&D). But it got me to wondering, though - why not allow players to create their own artifacts?
By allowing people to create their own artifacts including some easy ones like mana gems and using creature parts from guardians they kill to really difficult ones, players would be able to impact the future of the game directly. One thing that I want to do with the Trivia game is set it up so that players can submit questions and they'll get credit for it when the question is displayed (like, "Who won the MLB MVP trophy in 2009? - Provided by Joe Blow"). But in Samantha, players can create artifacts that will bear their name (the "Diadem of Joe Blow"). I need to figure out exactly how that's going to work in practice, but I think the idea is SOOOOOO completely compelling that I have to find a way to make it happen.
Anyway, that's just some thinking while I work on game systems. Yet another system to design and implement. Yay. :)