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.

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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)

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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.
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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.

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