Thursday, January 14, 2010


I finished the tiger shoes! Not exactly how I had envisioned them, the tree is too orange, and I didn't do any bamboo with the tiger, but at least they're done. About time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mob Boss Concept: Manticore

So this is a quick little concept picture I did in photoshop. A classic Mythological character the Manticore, I started with a picture of Heath Ledger as Joker and gave him kind of an Alan Moore look, only with multiple rows of teeth and big spikey tail. I'm thinking this is a boss you would fight, but that there would be a way to make him a quest giver as well, this could require doing other 'evil' quests or it could just be reaching a certain level in which he no longer regards you as food.
I seem to be more interested in world of the void than in the actual timelines themselves. What I really want to do is start making this into a game. I think starting out with Flash or Java might be the best way to get this project off the ground.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time Eater Mock-ups

I made a couple mock-ups to flesh out the concept.
I added the stat 'corruption' - this is similar to a regular timezones Integrity stat- only for the Debris instead of timelines. Shattered timelines revitalize this stat which otherwise has a natural decay.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Multi-Player TIme Travel Game Concept

Just a Concept nothing more.

It is always now, everything is happening now. - the structure of time

For this concept one must think of time in terms of a spread sheet, where the rows represent various time events that a player can enter and manipulate, and the columns represent the Players time, past, present, and future. For Example:

Each color here reflects an individual timeline. Players can only effect what is in their present.

Each cell would contain three types of data: Causality State, Player Data, and Time line Integrity.

Causality State represents the state of historical progression, i.e. outcomes of important battles, political assasinations, election results, etc.

Player Data represents data specific to a player, i.e. hidden caches of diamonds/gold/weapons, secret cabals of followers, hidden island establishments, gambling events with player known outcomes.

Time Line Integrity - a timeline can only endure so much interference. Everytime a player manipulates a timeline they are further degrading its integrity to varying degrees based on the type of interference. A healthy timeline will gradually recover some of its integrity. When a timeline reaches a critically low level it is open to destruction from various mobs and players, destroyed timelines then become part of the debris, they no longer progress and are completely open to looting.

Begining with Death

The way I envisioned this game, things should not be clear to the player from the begining but revealed over the game's progression (with some possible bypasses, not sure).

You would start the game by generating your character, in something that had the feel of an online survey: Name, age, sex, maritial status, occupation, location.
A huge amount of options would be great, but whatever. The point is to create a normal person who would exist in the real world. Some starting stats could be based on occupation and it would be really cool to have some story elements based on this begining information.
I might get back to this depending on how far I take this design, it's still only semi-formed here.

You would then begin the game by dieing during the collapse of a timeline. The two could be linked, say you were slaughtered by void worms ripping through reality or blown-up by a paradox triggered hydrogen bomb (kind of an ultimate weapon for player initiated timeline destruction). But it could also be that you were just killed at the same time as the timeline destruction took place, mob execution, car accident, accident at the home. This places you in The Debris. I also considered some other names for the debris: the Bardo, Purgatory, Meta-time, the Void, the Underworld - I think having multiple names and descriptions will add to the Lore of the game world. What your character's initial experience would be though is either looking at their own corpse in the environment they died in, or a randomly generated non descript place, kind of similar to a room escape puzzle, if anyone has read the book Dream Science this is the feel I'm going for.

Initial levels will be simply learning to navigate in the Debris. It is a mish mash of all types of fractured realities with hostile natives of the outer void combing over them for sustenance, much like yourself. You'll collect weapons, armor, strength and skills, and gradually learn to access living timelines. Dieing in the debris, basicly places you in a new random place in the debris, possibly with low health and minus any belongings you had gathered.

There are several ways to access the living timelines and characters may consider it science or magic, but there is never a clear cut decisive answer on how things work or why. There are only theories and viewpoints, and what can actually be done. Timelines can only be entered at specific fracture points and only for the length of that fracture but once there players can travel to different locations find the outcomes of there previous interference and so on.
A player can enter a timeline through the possesion of an avatar within the timeline or physically. Physical entrance creates far greater degradation to the timelines integrity. Possesion requires a certain level of psi ability and a possessible avatar - at first you might only be able to access drug addicts, religious devotees, coma patients; but as you progress you might be able to possess military leaders or politicians, IDK.

anyway thats it for now.

So I'm continueing to flesh out the idea.
I'm leaning more and more towards either a browser social game or possibly even a simple flash or html game (click on the job type stuff). Besides regular stats players will be managing health, energy, and something like mind or will - this last represents both the players mental well-being as their ability to travel via mental possesion of an avatar. I edited some pictures grabbed from google images as place-holders to start getting the feel of the game down. These are all areas within the debris (aka bardo, purgatory, underworld, etc.):

User Posted Image
Hospital - starting area

User Posted Image User Posted Image

low level jobs include:
Wander Halls, Shout for Help, Check Doors, Find Clothes (other than your hospital gown), Loot Vending Machines, Loot Storage Closet, Loot Pharmacy, Break into Room 27, Enter Stairwell
Chance to encounter - large translucent centipedes - encounters would lock all other jobs until dealt with - you would be given a chance to equip your character before dealing with it and then you would have three base options - Run, Fight, and Hide. Also listed would be the energy cost, success chance of each option the experience and chance to loot for each option, and the health/mind penalty for failure and any required items.

User Posted Image

Stairwell - low level inter-debris travel zone

User Posted Image Enter Thirteenth Floor - Energy 4 - Mind 5 - Exp 8 Job Type: Travel

User Posted Image Void Mite - Job Type: Encounter - Risk- Health 4% Mind: 12%;

  • Run - Energy 5 - Mind 2 - Exp 2 - success 74%
  • Attack - Energy 7 - Mind 3 - Exp 5 - success 68%
  • Hide - Energy 1 - Mind 4 - Exp 4 - success 48%

The main point of this area is to travel to other areas of the debris by going to other levels while avoiding encounters as best as possible
Possible encounters could include Void Mites (like dust mites but big and glowing) and Shades (shadows that deal damage by attacking your shadow)

User Posted Image
Office - this another debris looting zone - a place to gather low-level weapons, radio, flashlight, newspaper, food, briefcase, 80's-00's currency, cellphone, etc. - elevator might work as a gate to a 80's-00's timezones.
User Posted Image
Theatre - could work as a 30's-70's travel point. Watch the correct movie to possess the avatar of someone watching the same movie.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Finished Son's Shoes!

And its about time too. Now on to the tiger and birds :) !

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Browser Game Controlled Player Companion Characters in an MMO

Lately I've started looking at various social networking games like Mafia Wars. The primary appeal to me is that these games can be accessed from the Internet and played in one or two minute increments from almost any computer or even your phone while you wait in line at the grocery store. Naturally, when thinking about this type of gameplay I think of how it could be applied to the traditional MMO. The answer that I came up with is a NPC companion and/or afk character control system accessed through a browser based game (social or otherwise).

What is already out there:

In Mount and Blade their were a group of companion characters which I found very interesting. You needed to find them at different locations and have sufficient money and leadership skills to convince them to join your group. Once they joined you could give them any equipment you desired. As they leveled you could choose how to distribute their skill points. They were interesting, when you ventured near their hometown they would give you a little back story about themselves or the town. If their morale fell they would complain about certain other members of your party or reversely compliment certain others. If their morale fell too low they would leave your group taking any equipment you gave them with them. Eventually you might be able to find them again somewhere new.

The game oblivion included a little mini-game in which you could try complimenting, joking, intimidating, or something else I don't remember, to get NPCs to like you. This was important for obtaining quest information or getting better deals from merchants, there were also numerous escort quests like so many games at one point they also had follower characters such as a mercenary that could follow a few basic instructions (attack with magic/attack with melee/etc.) similar to pets in many games.

There are several MMO games out currently that allow you to level specific character skills while offline through the use of "jobs" (I believe EVE online, and City of Heroes are a couple of examples of this). Mortal Online has passive learning skills "skills learned by studying a book" or similar but only while online.

Another interesting game in development, the Secret World, has had different puzzles revealing tidbits of information (Mortal Online did a bit of this as well with their timer background images). Its just another example of offline gameplay that could be looked at.

A Tiered Game Structure
To make a game like this work I think it would need to be developed from the start as two separate but integrated games, each with their own appeal. Each portion could conceivably stand alone, what you did in one could effect the other but you would not necessarily have to play both if only one style of game play interested you.

The browser portion alone would be free possibly with advertisements or a bonus coin shop (idk) but could give you access only to semi-intelligent mobs (goblins, orcs, sator, tengu, etc.). As your mob grew more powerful you could distribute skill points: specialize in a specific weapons, work on defense through armor or evasion, work on stealth, develop the ability to command other mobs (these would be in limited supply, so another player with a higher leadership skill could possibly steal your minions away from you). You could order your mob to any area of your choosing. An intelligence stat might control how many orders you can give to or reports you can receive from your mob.

The benefit of all this for the MMO player paying a subscription fee, is first off more intelligent, less predictable mobs. When combined with the NPC companion system the two games really become one. I imagine a few different types and levels of companions:

1. Your AFK player character and alts - this could have a slow leveling job curve. You would need to spend actual time resting and feeding your character. Reading a book would take time (possibly based on a reading skill); or pay a teacher character to train you, instead of the classic you have been trained +1 swordsmanship instant pop-up message, your character would be training in a dojo. The thing to consider though is that while some areas will be relatively safe because of guards, the way I envision it no where would be completely safe. You have to be aware that some of the logged in characters will take great delight in killing your automated character. I would imagine Assasin builds could be much more literal in their purpose.

2.Companions - these would be like the Mount and Blade guys. You could equip them as you please, give them basic orders, perhaps even edit what they say as greetings to players they like or dislike or when attacked or killed. Their loyalty and how many you could retain would be based on your player characters leadership skill combined with your followers morale. They would do the same type of jobs player characters did while afk; craft a thousand swords, fish, eat, or sleep, mine, build housing, mind a store. Things could get even more interesting if you were able to hire them out or do services for your guild.

3.Associates - These would be guys who would do things for you, but are not your followers. For example you might bribe a guard to let all of your guild members pass by without inspection and alert your account and guild when an enemy guild or player shows up. He might except some weapons from you but would only use what was deemed appropriate for a guard. Another example might be shop keeper or other dedicated professional. They will work for you but only at what they do, selling, mining, fishing, etc. These guys could also have morale, or vices that require careful management to keep them from ripping you off. Other players with more money or higher Charisma might also be able to steal them from you.

and of course finally the Mobs
Some of their behaviors could be guild based. Mobs would attack all humans, but human automated characters could be given different orders based on if a guild were their own, marked as allied or marked as enemy. To make this more interesting guild identifiers could be made more complicated and they could fall into one of two categories overt or covert. Overt guild identifiers could include things like banners, embossed shields, signet rings or seals. These however could be looted. Covert guild identifiers could work like an emote that requires the player to be online. These could also be compromised by an enemy player with a spying skill and then a refreshed covert signal or password would have to be desiminated to the guild.

Keeping the Balance and Fun

For a game like this to succeed both parts would need to be fun and entertaining, and neither could be seen as "ruining it" for the other. This would be despite part of the fun in both halves would be precisely "ruining it" for the others. Watching some automated character going through a repetitive task as he levels his whatever skill, chopping off their head and disappearing into the shadows of the rafters as more automated guards run about searching for you - fun. Figuring out a prime location to drag an entire pack of mobs, influencing battles watching enemy guilds fall prey to an army of goblins- more fun.

Balance is tricky. I think mobs should not be able to distinguish human guilds. Mobs and Associates should be on Perma-death. Companion to leadership skill points should be a very low ratio. Alts should be limited.
Managing Associates and Companions should be a tricky buisness. They should have personalities, take offense to certain things dialogue options or other associates, steal, or wander off and get drunk.
Thats all for now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


A while ago I came up with a game concept which I posted on both the Mortal Online and Wolfire Forums.

My OP:
Well I got this idea for a game mostly from playing Mount & Blade and then thinking about free-running and climbing games like Mirrors Edge and Prince of Persia. I got an idea for the setting and it kind of took off from there.

This game would have to be single player or multi-player and I have some ideas on how it could be a persistant sandbox multi-player game based on a Game Master set-up, but I'll get to that later.

The main point of this game is that you are a brownie a tiny roughly 5" man or woman who has a number of possible mounts but the focus will be on squirrels. You will have an army (again like Mount and Blade) and you and your squirrel mounted army ride through the forest conquering different tree-based castles.

This means there is a lot of climbing and jumping between branches. Thin branches would bend with your weight, if they were 'green' they might give you extra bounce, dry they might break. Unlike Mirrors edge however falling is unlikely to kill you. A particularly bad fall might result in some damage, but usually the main reprecusion is that you are not where you want to be in the battle.

There could be a number of other types of possible mounts, most notably aerial mounts- sparrows, hawks, falcons, owls, bats (these last two would have bonuses for night battles). In aerial combat foliage is a big problem, smaller birds can more easily make their way through it than larger birds. It is also important to note that all mounts should require care and feeding so owning a hawk would be great for taking out sparrows but also very expensive. - I've also been toying with the idea that your charisma might take a hit for owning a predator (not sure).

Game Master controlled Multiplayer Mode

I wanted the game to be focused on seiges, but also have features that are simply impossible to acheive in an MMO. This and some of the conversation in the seige warning thread brought me to the conclusion that it would need to be multi-player. However I don't want it be that you log in for a session and then log-out and that session is done. I wanted a persistant game world that develops with your character. This made me think of the advantage that many Pen and paper rpg's had that I know of no computer games having- a dungeon (game) master.

I would want the Game Master to be necessary for any multi-player session. The primary duty of this person would be to get a number of people together , set the hours of gameplay and create the game world. Whether they play too or just created PvE events or whatever would be entirely up to them. They would be setting the rules and the lay of the land though so if they set it up giving themselves a huge advantage and then played PvP style they probably wouldn't keep their group for long.

Some of things a GM should be able to do:
1.)set game time - all characters are persistent within this time frame (perhaps AI orders set by players if they are not logged in)
2.)create the world map - I envision an interface of a giant map and nodes that could be used for procedural creation of the game map. this would include placing all Tree types, NPC spawn points, streams, cliffs etc. The GM would place a stream node for example and the engine would then render the stream according to how it would run down hill on the terrain, place a tree variety node and that tree will propogate based on sun, water, soil and competeing tree nodes. This could get quite complex and I don't know how well it could be implemented but I've seen some very interesting videos on the subject that give me hope.
3.) set rules:
RP only?
damage/health ratio?
chat options?
Full loot/partial loot?
4.) set-up NPC encounters and spawn points
this could include questing options

I would love to hear constructive critiques. If your a game developer please feel free to steal all my ideas as I will never really make this, I just think about these things alot.

A lack of PUG would be the death of such a game, as I imagine the best longest running games will indeed be closed. Here are some ideas I had on minimizing this possibility:

1) Single Player->Multi-player transitioning- When playing in Single Player mode have a PUG wanted chat window displayable (on-toggle) that way you can be scanning and playing at the same time. Also allow for Single Player character import into multi-player games, with a GM decided handicap/boost to level playing field among players.

2)Standard Mode- this would basicly be a standard pvp set-up where all the GM is really doing is setting the game hours and perhaps selecting from several pre-created maps. This would work well if you want to establish yourself as a GM but know one knows or trusts you yet or if you really just want to play your character and not worry about anyone shouting hey no fair you cant play PvP and be the GM.

3.) Community Support - Some things to make forums work well would include an indepth rep system with 'badges' those mini-icons under your avatar kind of like the Escapist forums has. These would be rewarded based on various things: Post count, positive rep, negative rep, GM, established GM, RPer, PvP master, Mod-user, Mod-team, Mod creator, etc.
The last bit makes me want to add that I would like the game to be extremely mod friendly and have mod support. This is one of the strengths you can gain in multi-player when you make the unfortunate sacrifice of the massive.

I think the GM-based multi-player format concept actually has more legs in itself than the setting I've come up with. I think many people would enjoy just some straight up AD&D style action under this set-up.

That said the setting is fairly integral to the 3D platform mounted combat + aerial combat + siegeing gameplay that I'm envisioning. I think most people's first reference to brownies is going to be Willow or something similar. I would like to move away from the comedic style of Brownies people expect, and have them be just medievil warriors who take themselves quite seriously and fight clans of other brownies for territory. They wouldn't see themselves as tiny because the entire world would be from their vantage point and they are normal sized. They don't see themselves as magic, sure they can tame squirrels and birds for mounts, but all brownies can do that. Any humor based around their size should be left to players and GMs and I would prefer that the game not really wink at the audience about it. These are brownies in a brownies world, not in a human-sized world and that (along with wanting the game to focus on just this fighting style) is why I want them to be the only playable race. That said I do have ideas for other creatures and races. I would leave these out of the Standard PvP Multi-Player Mode, have most of them in for single player story mode, and have it GM option for GM multi-player mode.

Humans: To a six inch brownie a six foot tall human would appear to be 12 times there size, imagine a 72' giant. Brownies will not be encountering legions of knights, what I might be willing to include is a single human woodsman or peasant farmer family. They would be epic sized quests to drive them off or steal their food. Strategies for driving them off might include trying to make some family members think one of them is crazy, or that their house is haunted, poison their supplies, or if you feel brave and have a large enough army just attack. I could see them as fighting you with things like a wooden spoon or their shoe.

Goblins: These would be about 1 to 2 feet tall ground dwelling semi-intelligent creatures. They could come in many varieties beaks, tusks, tin funnels for hats, one idea I had for them, sort of ripped off of Ninja Scrolls, is a goblin spider herder who has lots of spiders that live on his back.

Carniverous Wildlife: Foxes, Badgers, Bobcats, Spiders, army ants, any untamed carniverous woodland creature you can think of really.

I think bees/beehives would make a good tree castle upgrade - supply your troops honey and add protection to the tree.

Another bird mount I want is the humming bird. Very low weight capacity/armor/health, high maintenance cost, but has ability to hover and is lightening fast. Good Sniper mount.

Anyway a few of the comments I got, and my own feelings on the subject, sort ran along the lines of "quit dreaming and start making something". Too true, only I'm not a programmer, and I have limited time and talent. So I decided to stick with what I know and started working on a comic. I wanted to aim for a page a week like those transmission-x guys do, two months later I'm almost done with my first page and not entirely happy with it, but I'll still be posting it shortly. If I could actually get this comic rolling it would be nice lore background from which I could pitch this game concept to a company.....maybe.....someday...