Friday, April 23, 2010

Conceptual Mechanics

These are 4 of the best examples of each model which I used to flush out the spaces within a castle. Players are able to choose between 4 separate paths or trees(or sampling from each) to shape their castle, society, and tools for success. These choices in a way reflect the class structure (class in this case is what your character brings to the table in an adventure...thief, wizard). I started with 5, and then erased one. Below is in detail my thought process through coming up with new iterations of balance and vocabulary. This process has helped me to understand what kind of interactions the player will be able to execute.

as a base, players are allowed to construct general buildings, which can be converted into class specific ones. This will help to reduce visible buttons and categorizing its purpose will help players make connections in function.
- for instance you can create a space called "housing", which can then be converted into a:
1. Barracks (militancy)
2. Sanctuary (Faith)
3. Dormitory (Magic)
4. Hostel (syndication)

Each of the 4 branches reflect class choices, and most classes you can see in other games could consist of these in combination.
1. Militancy room examples include a drill room (training), barracks (housing), Town watch (universal service), and War room (primary room). A militant society (or establishment) would base its values in fighting for territory, raising their children to fight as well, and usually with great pride in nation. The primary room, The War Room, indicates that the society has generals who can manipulate troops better, and can execute advanced maneuvers on the battlefield (due to the militant hierarchy).

2. Faith room examples include Meditation Cell (training), Sanctuary (housing), hospital (universal service), and Temple (primary room). A Faithful society places its values in the hands of a deity or religion. In this fantasy world the religion can actually execute a number of magical outcomes, and demigods can come to your aid if you have enough belief in them. The primary room, Temple, is the location of all contact with the divine, and it is the symbol of the societies faith.

3. Magic room examples include Academy (training), dormitory (housing), Library (universal service), and Focus Chamber (primary room). A magical society places its values in the pursuit of magical understanding to better the quality of life and because it is the social norm. The primary room, focus chamber, is where magic is focused and advanced spells can be performed. For instance opening up a portal, hurling massive fireballs, or evoking storms.

4. Syndication room examples include guilds (training), hostel (housing), Market (universal service), and Conclave (primary room). A syndicate society might have a government, however much of the deeds are done though the shady part of town, and the society as a whole profits at the expense of others. The primary room, conclave, suggests that a group of powerful rich individuals get together to conspire terrible deeds such as sending plagued meats to other towns, assassinations, or forging information.

At this point I have several buildings which fall under each class tree, and what they convert from. I will be working on turning all of my notes into a cohesive document which outlines the maximum potential for this game and what cuts can be made.

Medieval Warfare

Medieval Warfare has proven useful in understanding warfare, and the successful tactics of the day. Most of the successful tactics unfortunately hardly relate to a video game (starving an enemy is successful, cutting reinforcements.) because we all know game characters don't eat or defecate.

interesting finds:

1. The germanic tribes of the ancient world have a unique way of fighting. They assemble troops into a huge square, making them effective because they are essentially un-flankable. This thwarted the romans several times because their most successful tactic is to flank with Calvary. This formation tells a lot about the people themselves. The book describes how these tactics reflect an "All for one, one for all" mentality. These formations made it possible for those with shields could create a wall around the edges, letting the unshielded units in the middle survive a charge, but effectively strike an enemy in an entangled battle. These developments in military strategy are important to understanding the culture itself. They had a lack of supplies and advanced weaponry, so this formation played to their advantages of being strong warriors, good at close combat, and being poor at horse drawn combat. Players will be able to choose different fighting tactics (if they invest in militant structures and professions) which will enable them to adjust the formations of troops for different circumstances.

Ilustrated Anthology of Sorcery, Magic, and Alchemy

The illustrated Antholgy of Scorcery, Magic, and Alchemy is essential to my production of this game. I have been raised on a very stylistic and exported version of magic. Essentially as I see it mediums have taken what magic was and augmented to fit their own narrative schemes and molded the vocabulary into something which is completely detached from its origin. I don't find that there is anything wrong with this because magical things cant essentially be wrong (the beauty of magic). However if I were to design my game off of someone else's interpretation, its a filtering. I would rather continue research into how magic was perceived in medieval and prevues times, and figure out my own vocabulary for these interactions which are unique to my world. This allows me to repackage magic (another great thing about broad themes).

My favorite sections of this book

1. I have always had an interest in Alchemy for the lessons it teaches. Not only that a popular form of science should penetrate society so boldly, but also that it brought about a mini age of belief, symbolism, and art. The word alchemy has been disambiguated though most modern medieval fantasy games. They would usually switch alchemists with Apothecaries. Where to have an alchemical skill in games would imply your ability to make potions. I wish be accurate when it comes to these things, and be able to take the meanings of our world and transpose them within my game world, not completely misconstrue them.

2. Hearing of the role of magic in some tribal societies then. It was viewed as a healing device, a spiritual device. Magic and modern fantasy games would put it, is in charge of things incapable by us, and more broadly capable of all things awe inspiring. Its a mini portal to becoming a god. Magic back then was used to explain things unexplainable, but also it was rooted in the important things of its day. They found good health important. Where magic in modern days might involve hurling fireballs at people, so those games find that violence is important. I want the role of magic (one of the 4 paths of the society in my game) to reflect the abilities of play and to be balanced with the other paths (militancy, faith, syndication).

Understanding Architecture

Understanding architecture has some excellent insight to building material, history of architectural styles, terminology of building elements, and the relation of architectural forms to the identity of civilizations.

My favorite parts, most relevant to my project were on the topics of:

1. Materials, how they are used within architecture, and what certain materials can do and provide towards a building. For instance wood has more tinsel strength so structures can extend outwards much more then stone structures can (virtually impossible for a stone building to be suspended on its own weight). This is important because it will help present all the possible building materials for players, and make sure that they remain balanced, so that all materials are desirable under different circumstances (just like in modern architecture).

2. The illusion of architecture. Some structures displayed in this book show how some architectural feats can make a building look like it is on the brink of collapsing. Once we discovered advanced metal smithing techniques, using metal to this degree (essentially much stronger per square inch, and able to take stresses in several forms) made buildings look precarious. So some choices within a buildings construction would dictate putting an overly large column to give people an at ease feeling when using the space. Since my game will be entirely virtual or representational, the physical restraints are not there, however letting the player know some spaces are more reinforced then others is an important part for militant reinforcement and indications of spaces which can be expanded upon.

Thesis statement 1: 4/23/10

My thesis project is to meld the important aspects of role play customization, and civilization control into a playful, creative, and entertaining multiplayer platform