RE: The games are all crap; let's make a decent one.

From: White, Ryan (
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 09:46:52 MDT

Anyone maybe interested?
A friend and I have been talking about creating a game for a long time. We
are both coders, and i am also a network administrator / webmaster. We've
recently been discussing how to implement novel approaches to an 'AI combat
strategy engine', since we lack the funding to go all out. I have played
online multiplayer games like Ultima Online and Diablo (both fantasy
oriented), and conclude that there is definitely a market for it.
I've also watched some interesting events emerge - such as persons selling
virtual comodities (virtual characters, virtual objects, virtual currency,
and virtual real estate) on eBay for hundreds or even thousands of real
dollars. I have another friend who makes a living as a 'virtual comodities
broker'. He developed a superior money-making strategy in the game, and
sells money by the millions, and rare virtual objects, on ebay. He doesn't
go 'into the office,' he works from home, doing what he loves - playing
video games, and the game actually supports his lifestyle. My heart aches
for the folks at Origin who have to balance the virtual economy with him
The only drawback i anticipate is that once a game of this nature goes
online, it seems like it must be supported virtually forever - suggesting
that mechanisms for efficient augmentation and evolution of the game need to
be built into the infastructure from the getgo, and considered in all
aspects of design and implementation. Prepare to have a massive development
team, and a massive customer support team. And most of all, prepare to be
in it for the long haul. Well, unless some mega game co. comes along and
buys you out for mega bucks...
One problem i observe in these games as they are now, judging from consumer
response, is that creating a world and mechanisms for character development
and cooperation is not enough. A game of this nature should have a team
dedicated to creating a continuous flow of 'quest' events - there needs be
perhaps one major plot line and several subplots happening all of the time
to keep the society dynamic. Evolving circumstances could introduce
variance in what players consider 'optimal phenotypes' over time, to use
that example, encouraging replayability of the game.
And if this is to be done properly, it is going to be expensive. Software
development costs aside, it will be necessary to build servers all over the
world to support a global user base.
But, I suspect that if someone were to build a game around the ideology of
transhumanism, what we would have is a very powerful 'meme vector'. For
example, have intrinsic features of the game include: gradual genetic
manipulation of their characters to evolve interesting phenotypes (and of
course, life extension) in a stepwise fashion (towards a dynamic 'optimum'
rather than a static one), and cybernetic/bionic implants. The scope of the
game would include multiple planets and therefore space travel. Player
characters can be 'saved' by cryonic suspension. We could even make it
possible for two or more players to direct their characters' evolution such
that they could 'merge' into a meta character, introducing all sorts of
interesting possibilities, but mostly cooperation. I could go on and on.
We could hire Elizier to develop the finer aspects of the NPCs
(non-player-characters) 'personalities' and strategies. Then he'd actually
be working on AI and refining the game at the same time. I bet every one of
you folks could contribute in a similar fashion.
Ryan v24.2

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