My eternal game idea

If you work for a game or software company, please feel free to steal my ideas, I just want to see it done.

Now that computer to computer communication in the home is ubiquitous. I often thought that if there was a standard for computer game interaction, that any manufacturer could use it would lead to a great game.

Let’s say you buy the 2020 edition of Civilization. You launch a bomber strike against your opponent. It would instantly collect that information for you and your buddies to fly a flight sim (possibly by a completely different company). Your 5 buddies could pilot other bombers, run the gun positions or fly escort fighters.

Launch a tank offensive? In a different game you can then command a platoon of tanks, which interacts with yet another game which you’re running a single tank and a first person shooter on the other side which is trying to ambush your tanks with RPGs.

I’d think you could give away mini games (like running the ball turret on a B-17) for free, charge for anything more elaborate.

Of course you’ll constantly be complaining to your friend as to why he put more economic units towards another friend who happens to love naval simulations rather than your tanks…

Eve Online is doing that to a limited extent with Dust 514. Runny gunny shooty wahey action on the PS3 complements the spacey floaty miney stuff in the PC game.

One issue with your idea: what happens if you fire off an assault in Civ 2020 and nobody wants to play a flight sim at that point?

It would likely suck for the same reason Spore kind of sucked. To keep development costs and/or times from being insane you’d have to not fully develop any one part of the game, and instead kind of glance over the various aspects. So instead of, say, a deep turn-based strategy and a deep naval RTS you’d get a bunch of barely passable minigames.

On top of that, the idea isn’t really sustainable. In an MMO, you have a limited amount of content so you can usually be assured SOMEBODY is doing it. In a game like this, you’re going to run into the issue sooner or later that very few people want to run, say, naval battles so it’s hard to execute them. You could AI control them, but if the AI does too well people won’t want to put it in the hands of humans. Could you imagine what a Total War game would be like if you could only auto-resolve unless you could find a person to command each squad?

It’s certainly an interesting idea on paper, certainly one I’ve toyed with from time to time, but it’s a really impractical idea for many reasons. The only way it could really work is if you had some sort of ongoing investment as you keep adding content slowly. That is, you develop a massively multiplayer strategy game that’s subscription based, and then after you polish that, you add a huge content patch that adds the ability to fight battles as an RTS, if you choose. And then the ability to fight RTS battles as an FPS – all slowly over the course of 10-15 years, and the chances of you ever achieving that vision are very slim.

I’d think that you would make things challenging for the human player but all things aside, the odds would be stacked in favor of actual people playing rather than AI.

Essentially, if you have no friends, or if you decide to attack a team in a vastly different time zone and you run out of `dew, evenly matched, you’re going to lose. Possibly effectively channeling your resources to give you overwhelming fire power, then leaving it up to the AI to carry it out, maybe you win.

For the “free” games like my example of the ball turret, I’d say you’d kind of have a waiting room, and you can join this team or that team if they allow that. You could also have that for other modules…tank commanders, etc. The best teams would be ones which had top to bottom people to command platoons (or fleets or squadrons) as well as people who could effectively command a tank, dogfight or damn it to h*ll sink that ship.

Think of this as 3-4 layers of games, all linked.

Also consider the case of how unfun it could potentially be for the people on the bottom, people already cry at the most basic of balance issues. Could you imagine joining a random FPS game only to discover you’re controlling the receiving end of what amounts to a stack of doom steamroll?

I can see this becoming annoying on the level of Farmville.

"Double Foolscap is attacking The Mountains of Futility and needs you! Click here!

"Double Foolscap is attacking The Swamp of Petulance and needs you! Click here!

"Double Foolscap is attacking The Field of Dreams and needs you! Click here!

"Double Foolscap is attacking The Desert of Itchiness and needs you! Click here!

There’s a mechanism kind of like that in the later Total War games - you play your single player strategic campaign against the AI, but whenever you wind up in battle with them and the action goes down to the tactical level, you have the option of letting a human player jump in and lead their armies/fleets.

Not sure how much this feature is used in practice though - I’ve never toggled it on for myself (because I’d hate to wind up playing against some asshole who’d use gamey strats or game bugs to make a given battle tedious and unfun for me - or worse, for the game’s multiplayer layer to crap out and end up nuking my solo campaign somehow), and on the flip side I wouldn’t want to lead either the shitty, disparate mobs raised by cash-strapped, desperate and dumb AIs *or *the overpowered, cheaty ones they sometimes wind up with in someone else’s single player campaign either.

Heh, no offense to the OP, but I guessed what the idea would be before as soon as I read the first sentence. I think everyone who plays video games has some variation of this idea at some point or another. I think I’ve listened to or read someone excitedly describe it eight or nine times at this point.

Indeed, I think this was one of my first game ideas back when I was little. Now that I have some limited game design experience, as well as knowing a lot more about the realities of the industry, I just realize it doesn’t work. Even games that span genres almost never turn out well. Some, like Beyond Good and Evil manage to magically blend genres with only a few aspects coming out relatively weak, but games like Spore and Battlecruiser 3000 (which, admittedly had problems WAY worse than just the concept) have shown that focusing on more than maybe two or three genres just won’t work unless you get REALLY damn lucky or you’re some kind of mad game developer savant.

It was with great anticipation that I waited for the release of Savage: Battle for Newerth in 2003. While not quite exactly what you described, the game combined the elements of first person shooters (which I loved), and real-time strategy (which I also loved), into one single, unplayable mess. I spent a few hours running across fields with a spear and getting slaughtered in ridiculous melees before I gave up on it. Ends up, an effective strategy for an RTS (Zerg rush) is absolutely no fun for the Zerglings. To be fair, I didn’t stick with it long enough to ever be the commander, but the game never really took off regardless. I see now that it’s been open sourced and still has a following, which makes a bit of sense. If you and your friends are actually dedicated to the concept, it’d probably be fun, but jumping online with strangers was not.

Dungeon Keeper 2 did have this kind of cool feature where you could use the possession spell to play one of your creatures. It was kind of fun and novel, and occasionally necessary, but I think any more layers to that game – or making possession a super-integral part of the game would have ruined it.

Based on what they showed at E3 this year, seems to be working toward a massive multi-level battle simulation. But they’re doing it from the bottom up. They’re introducing standalone games one at a time – World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, World of Battleships – and plan on eventually integrating all these standalone titles into a big strategic metagame. It’s still really ambitious, but by building and releasing it piece by piece they avoid the problem of breaking everything with one bad module.

No offense taken

Yay discussion!

Anyway, balance is tricky in simple games, let alone something which would be multilayered. Also, by including an open spec for multiple companies to follow, integrity of the clients would be a big issue since you’re probably want to include the possibility of open source clients.

My only answer to that would be assigned keys which could be actively revoked.

As for starting out, you could be a merc, and join whoever needs you. At the FPS level, you would essentially just be getting presented with random levels.

Higher levels, no I don’t have all the answers. A dedicated group of 30 12 year olds who stayed up all night cold probably rule the world.

There is no reason why a game can’t have it’s own internal story lines and maps, it would just include a client which adhered to the standard guidelines.

Think about this as like talking about the SQL protocol, rather than a specific game (client). So there could be 5 flight sims from 4 companies which all meet the communication specs. Those games could also be stand alone sims.

What’s to stop the companies from competing with each other? If your gaming company makes Flight Sim Alpha that adheres to the spec, with F-22s that shoot normal rockets, and my gaming company makes Flight Sim eXtreme!!! that also adheres to the spec, but my F-22s are made of unobtanium and they shoot laser guided sharks with laser guided rockets on their heads that never miss, then nobody who buys your game is going to be competitive. I’ll ruin the game and drive you out of business in the process.

You’d have to do more than just publish communication specs; you’d have to tightly control all elements of gameplay, not only to prevent such competition between similar genres (flight sims), but also to prevent any one genre from becoming the king maker (my eXtreme F-22s might also render all ground combat meaningless, for example).

Also, you mention lobbies for filling in low-level army spots. That’s just ASKING for SomethingAwful or Anonymous or your team’s arch-rival to fill up the spots quickly and act in highly counterproductive ways.

Even the few games we’ve seen with two-level metagames (I’m even thinking of games like Battlefield 2 or Tribes 2, with one commander with a gods-eye view and multiple grunts) are highly vulnerable to even one or two yahoos fucking up a team.

Yes obviously, a client which only does the Raptor may not be able to play at early stages of a match unless they download the accepted specs for a Gloster Meteor or maybe even an Airacobra and used them. Competing games might have better interfaces, etc.

I’d have little problem if sim A had a HUD in a Hellcat, while sim B had a traditional battery of gauges.

Yes, that’s a danger and I don’t have a good answer to be honest. All massive online players anything is always a work in progress.

To answer another question, you’re asleep in Maryland along with your friends, and someone in Japan launches a massive assault at 4am. I’d hope you either have recruited players from Eu rope, Korea, Australian and Japan to be aware of this or you have cleverly foreseen this and stationed enough forces (controlled by the AI since you don’t have humans awake) to repel this invasion. Or maybe you established an alliance with a team to come help you.

Actually, I didn’t answer your question really, and I’m agreeing with you. On the server side, there needs to be, for example what are the ballistics and damage of a 20mm round shot from an MG151? Then whats that relation for the same thing from a .50 shot from a M2? How does the the Stinger compare to the Starstreak? That would be all server side data and results.

I too thought of that, regarding wargames. I’ve seen once a WWII tabletop wargame with three levels of command on each side plus referees (the top commander not being able to see directly what was happening, hence being informed by a referee, or at the contrary getting “intelligence” informations subordinate players couldn’t know).

I’d like to see something like that implemented, and it’s probably possible, but it couldn’t be done to the lowest level. If you, say, play a Civil war battle, what could be the point of being a grunt or even a company commander ordered to charge a position?

Well, I imagined that the higher level the game, the longer you’ll have to wait for results (so maybe you you’d play multiple levels).

At the grunt level, maybe people into the classic SSI sim won’t be too interested, and for them, just playing the higher levels, it would be a lot like PBEM. The interaction at the platoon or FPS level gets tricky. A scenario has been generated based on the moves from higher up, with some specific objectives.

So, someone playing at the corps level has decided what your air resources are, your artillery support, etc. I’d be open to the idea that and FPS maniac can go rambo, and with ingenuity and a LOT of time on their hands, capture the objective and kill every opposing player…AI or not.

Your example of civil war brings problems with evolution of the game (how much economic resources are put into research) complicated things. I’d probably start out at a franco-prussian war time frame through vietnam. That also helps us because thanks to various conflicts around the world, we know more about the relative effectiveness of different weapons from the period.