Today we finished a module on psychology and economies. I designed an economy where different elements alter the world and foes within the world, I realised that having a background in ecology really helped here, as I was able to think about interacting systems and how to model them effectively, adding different variables and tweaking their values. While I couldn’t test the whole game as a prototype, I could get an indication of how well the premise of the game worked. It’s an idea I’ll hold on to, it could be something worth making in the future!
I’ve also been thinking a lot more about what I want to achieve with a mechanic. In my own time I’ve been working on some mechanics for a hypothetical fantasy MMORPG based on player skill and mastery, rather than mastery of a character. It’s hypothetical, because I don’t have the tens of millions of dollars needed to produce something on this scale, but maybe one day. I’m wanting to bring back a sense of freedom and exploration I find lacking in modern MMOs, while also improving on some of the weaker points (for me, anyway) of earlier open world MMOs such as Ultima Online. While these games were often limited by technology, many of these limitations no longer apply and some of the conventions such as levelling systems and experience bars are perhaps outdated for something as non linear, long lasting and open as a sandbox MMORPG. Many of the conventions such these, as well as time sinks are often assumed to be core to gameplay, but this does not necessarily have to be true, particularly if the content is not a linear, scripted narrative.
I’m working on systems that move away from this playstyle and into something more freeform, where the player gains mastery of their abilities, rather than merely tweaking the stats of their character over time. I think what I have so far could make a very interesting game, but there’s many more things to consider before I’ll know if it could work as I envision. I’m hoping to at least be able to get some mechanic prototypes running, if I can get a programmer on board to help me work it out.
Even if they don’t work out, it’ll be an interesting experiment.