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Ding, the Elevator door opens....

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Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DazaKiwi » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:51 pm

I have an idea for a cooperative game. Iv'e bounced this idea to a couple of you on the mini-chat last Monday.
I've been trying to think of something suitable for a cooperative game in recent times because of my love for cooperative story writing i've done in the past, but it would be very difficult to do in an IF game
because of all the variables and complexity of weaving it all together.

And last week i came across a game mod that uses the Half-Life 2 game engine, the mod is called "Elevator: Source" (Which the other day i downloaded and played it, sadly you cannot leave the elevator only stop at different random floors where weird things would happen and different characters would get into the elevator. Some will have an untimely death on the next floor.)

So using this idea but expanding it. There will be a tall multi-level building that has an Elevator in it (oh, you would of never guessed that bit!) the player is trapped in some strange dream that might easily fit into a Twilight Zone episode or Inception (The Movie). The goal for the player is to escape by finding a Portal generator somewhere in the building which will be on a random floor each play through. At the very start the player begins on the ground floor and hops into the elevator, they could pick a floor number or hit the random button.

But for this to work, putting all the floors together into one game, importing Modules needs to work properly. I've emailed Campbell about it and he likes the idea, he said he will make sure the Modules fix will
be in the next update. He has a great idea in mind about that and i've added that to the enchancement list, using a username as part of the unique keys.

Anyway i thought this could be a great idea for a community project, whereby each person who wants to be involved creates a floor which can be whatever they imagine, not even dependent on reality of physics even if you want, think Twilight Zone or Outer Limits TV show. So one floor the player gets off might be in the middle of a desert or a large junkyard, a battle field or something like that. A floor may or may not have puzzles or traps the player has to defeat to progress its up to the floor designer what they want to do. But it would be good if some puzzles can have variations that are random, so no solution is the same every time but its up to who creates them i guess.

Another idea for a floor could be an office floor full of workers in their cubicles going about their day and you need to interact with them to find the anomaly which might be the puzzle itself (Think Quantum leap tv show) if someone wants to make a character focused floor.

Once the player has explored a whole floor and has completed all the puzzles or just exploring it all (whatever objectives the designer puts in) and they have not found the portal they will then move onto the next floor. Keep in mind each new play through the portal might be on any floor. The player will need to be told after completing a floor it has been cleared. So they know for sure that the portal is not on it, and it also will be excluded in the random floor option. So in a sense each floor is a game in itself.

The primary goal for the player is to find the Portal which they escape from the building through. Perhaps some other objectives could go towards scoring. There will be only one portal to find which each designer of a floor can write a description of what their portal looks like and where it will be placed or hidden, and if their floor is the one picked the game will use that floors description of the portal.

An elevator will be the sole means to transport between levels/floors. No stairs, just to keep it simple.

This idea is simple and what each person comes up with wont be dependent on other designers or continuity of another floor or story line and the good thing about this project it can easily be added to over time, the more floors the more fun. As with a tall building there wouldn't be a limit to how many floors.

I've been wondering if this will need some design limits as not to have this project stall with people starting on a big floor and never finishing it. And maybe some basic guide line rules? So what do you guys think? limit the amount of rooms on a floor? any other basic rules to keep it streamlined and functional on a whole?

If someone wants to create several different floors there is no reason they can't, just so long as they are different. It might be better for each floor to have one theme, but then again less restrictions means more creativity.

Just thinking now...about side quests or missions with a total score at the end of the game, so scoring will need to be implement on puzzles and whatever rewards you want to give to the player for doing things.

What if someone wants to design a really great puzzle (maybe they would rather do that, than a floor) and pieces of that puzzle can be scattered over all the different floors, and the main place it is put together could be on the top floor. But isn't dependent to finding the portal or finishing the game. Just giving something else for the player to look for and collect then solve the puzzle if they want to. Perhaps they have to go to the top floor first in order to get a clue about what parts are need to be found through out the building.

On each floor a hint system could be implemented through conversations with characters or talking objects.

What do you think? How many would be interested in creating a floor?

Just for the H*** of it, I'll throw in a 20$ prize for the best floor. (payable with PayPal or Amazon voucher)
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby Po. Prune » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:48 am

This is a great idea and I’ll most certainly have a go at it.
When I read through your post, the general idea is great and it will be a fun project to participate in.

I would definitely set up some rules. Maybe a limit of 5 rooms and a deadline as to when the project is to be released.

I hope that a lot of people will join in. This is a great way to get to learn about V.5 (another reason to limit the number of rooms in a floor)

Maybe a vote after the project has been released? The best floor (design, puzzle, atmosphere etc)
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DCBSupafly » Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:50 pm

I'll take a swing at a floor. Floor 12 available? :p

My concerns are in dealing with floor-to-floor movement and player motivation.
1) How do you keep player from just hopping back in the elevator and switching floors...or do you? Does it vary depending on the floor?
2) I guess we as designers have to find a way to motivate the player to solve a puzzle that MAY or MAY NOT lead to escape? It's not impossible at all, just kinda weird.

Perhaps rather than a room limit we could have some kind of mild thematic linkage, such as exterior 'wall' design elements, or even shape/size? In a dreamscape, implementing light stuff like that could add lots for cohesion and unity without taking too much freedom from the designers.

Finally, what is the issue with modules?
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby Hensman Int'l » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:40 am

Another thought... How about those games we've started for a small competition but didn't finish in time? I have a few that I did not complete that might fit into this concept.
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DazaKiwi » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:18 am

Hensman Int'l wrote:Another thought... How about those games we've started for a small competition but didn't finish in time? I have a few that I did not complete that might fit into this concept.


That's a good idea Hensman, I'm sure there are half finished or early started projects sitting on the top bench as it were out there. Each floor can be like a game in its self so using something already started which would suit the concept would be fine.
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby Duncan_B » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:17 pm

Why have a room limit? I like the idea that each floor could be wildly asymmetrical and have no chance of "lining up" with the previous or next floor.

If we want people to just go through the rooms in order, why not use stairs instead of an elevator? I have no personal problems with an elevator, that's just a thought. Is it necessary for players to go through in any particular order, do you think?
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby ralphmerridew » Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:17 pm

It's vaguely reminiscent of Cliff Diver 1.

http://www.wurb.com/if/game/46
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DazaKiwi » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:42 am

Duncan_B wrote:Why have a room limit? I like the idea that each floor could be wildly asymmetrical and have no chance of "lining up" with the previous or next floor.

If we want people to just go through the rooms in order, why not use stairs instead of an elevator? I have no personal problems with an elevator, that's just a thought. Is it necessary for players to go through in any particular order, do you think?


It's nothing to do with trying to make it seem symmetrical, i'm for a asymmetrical floor that is really another world or reality even.

The reason why i thought a room limit might need to be imposed is to prevent the project from stalling with people creating a huge world/floor and never finishing it.

So having a limit in way its like a deadline, like a script writer writing for a one hour tv show compared to a feature length movie. Deadlines can be a killer too, if you are no where near finished coming towards a deadline people tend to give up or if the deadline is far away they might put it off until later. But in saying that i think having a deadline for the project could be a good idea but more as a target to aim for than something carved in stone.

Also i was thinking that a floor ought to have the feel of a short story, which compared to a novel have a sense of hooking the player from the beginning and throwing them into the middle of a story or event. A novel has a longer build up and has a more broader canvas. A short story is tighter and er..shorter. So a player wont feel they have to wade through an epic before they move onto the next floor.

So i've been wondering how to balance the two with as big as you want to having a limit in order to see floors finished sooner than later...

Would 10 rooms be too small? Maybe have a minimum number of rooms like 5 to the maximum of 10 or 15?

Another possibility? Just a thought. If room limits are put in place in the first stage as above, in order to have the core story of the world/floor created and finished in the short story framework, and the world created around it and the theme and then submitted when ready. Stage two can be adding new layers and side stories/characters and new areas etc onto it if the designer wishes to. This way once the floors are beta tested and submitted and the community can start playing it and the designers can continue working on it for it to be updated later with no deadline since they have already finished it but merely extending it if wished to do so.

Also i was thinking there is no reason after a floor is finished that the designer could have a go at another one with a different theme altogether, use ideas that didn't fit their previous theme. But still we would want quality over quantity right.

Why an elevator? Having stairs removes the element of a player picking a floor and doing them out of sequence if they want to and also randomly choosing a floor.

I will be writing up a summary and a guide line soon, so the project is more clearly defined. But it will be open to discussion and any ideas you guys might have.

So what do you guys think? impose a limit to amount of rooms? if so what would be an ideal limit that isn't too small or too big?

What about doing it in two stages as mentioned to appease both crowds of designers?
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby Po. Prune » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:15 am

Maybe if you made it max. 10 rooms in stead of a limit of 10 rooms?
I know it's the same but with a max of 10 rooms you indicate that everything up to 10 rooms is acceptable, whereas a limit of 10 rooms sound like you expect 10 rooms ... Or maybe it's just me.

Another thing. It sounds to me that you are planning on having this project growing through time, meaning that people can add to the building endlessly. But do you think people would go back and play the game again?
This also calls for a descission whether you should create a random elevator, or the player should be able to choose the floor s/he wants to go to.
If you choose the random solution the player could end up on a floor where s/he'd already been once. Unless you put in a restriction so the player can't land on the same floor twice. But by doing that you need to make sure that the player can't leave unless s/he has completed the "floor"

Are you sure you realise what you've gotten yourself into? :?
rofl
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby Duncan_B » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:56 pm

One stage of writing is probably fine. I like this idea. I just asked about room limits because I have an unpublished v4 module I think I'd like to submit for it, but it has 29 rooms.

Also, any thoughts on how you will avoid object redundancy? For example, this module I speak of has one item in it called "a fruit." Suppose someone else makes "a fruit" an important part of their piece?
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby Campbell » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:39 pm

I'm not sure object redundancy should matter too much as disambiguation is much improved now. I do wonder how the world model will work though, implementing verbs not in the standard library. For example, someone implements "shake", and creates a default response to this, perhaps with a "shakeable" property for objects. If there is any overlap with another floor then tasks may fail to run.

I suppose each entrant could create a location group and restrict any custom verbs to their floor.
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DazaKiwi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:22 am

Campbell wrote:I'm not sure object redundancy should matter too much as disambiguation is much improved now. I do wonder how the world model will work though, implementing verbs not in the standard library. For example, someone implements "shake", and creates a default response to this, perhaps with a "shakeable" property for objects. If there is any overlap with another floor then tasks may fail to run.

I suppose each entrant could create a location group and restrict any custom verbs to their floor.


I was thinking about this too. And being able to pick up an object on one floor and use it to do something on a other. Using Groups already created for this project and possibly also custom properties (a discussion on what they could be could be made) and this could be saved as a master file from which everyone uses to create their floor. It they make an a sci floor that has a tool that works like a wrench for an example it goes into the group Behaves like a wrench.
When the command use wrench on object x the wrench or referenced objected can be checked if it belongs in the group Behaves like a wrench etc. And other custom commands (we all can discuss what they could be) could be put into this master file as well removing duplicates, so there is only one Shake object command and not several, properties and groups can be part of the restrictions. Any new unique commands would get put into the main game when imported anyway.
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DazaKiwi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:14 am

Po. Prune wrote:Maybe if you made it max. 10 rooms in stead of a limit of 10 rooms?
I know it's the same but with a max of 10 rooms you indicate that everything up to 10 rooms is acceptable, whereas a limit of 10 rooms sound like you expect 10 rooms ... Or maybe it's just me.

Another thing. It sounds to me that you are planning on having this project growing through time, meaning that people can add to the building endlessly. But do you think people would go back and play the game again?
This also calls for a descission whether you should create a random elevator, or the player should be able to choose the floor s/he wants to go to.
If you choose the random solution the player could end up on a floor where s/he'd already been once. Unless you put in a restriction so the player can't land on the same floor twice. But by doing that you need to make sure that the player can't leave unless s/he has completed the "floor"

Are you sure you realise what you've gotten yourself into? :?
rofl


I was thinking having a minimum and maximum. I suppose someone could create a one room floor and make it seem big and focus on creating a puzzle much like a one room competition. If someone doesn't have alot of time but wants to do a floor allowing them to do a couple of rooms could cater for those strapped for time.

Yes I imagine over time new floors could be added, why not. Some new comers down the track might want to have a go. Those too busy to do a floor now might have time later in the year.

Would people replay the game after finishing it? I guess this question could stick in the minds of the designers of a floor. Think about what elements they can make random or paths the player has to pick that closes others. Small side missions that might only show up if certain conditions are met, like in conversation.

What would happen if there was a turn limit a countdown to finishing the game? it could be the building will collapse when the countdown is complete. This would add some tension to the game both in decisions of what to do where to go. The more side missions/paths no matter how small they maybe if complete goes towards a total score. So some players may dare to use up some of those turns in or to gain a higher score and still look for the portal. If they find it early by chance or whatever they could play the remaining floors to gain points. Then go back and go through the portal in order to finish the game. Also rewards of gaining time/turns could be spread out through the different floors, rewards for some hard puzzles or keen observations.
Would this idea seem contrived? It would mean a player couldn't play out every path (least because also there may be random variables involved. But randomness doesn't need to be in everything, just we're it can be applied with out getting too complex and time consuming to make). (*Edit update* I think perhaps this would be too hard to do with timing it right. And perhaps to be scraped altogether or implemented as a setting to be turned on by player if they want to challenge themselves, and they could set the limit of turns themselves.)

The Elevator will have a panel where the player can choose to hit Random button or number between floor 1-x (how many floors currently completed and in the game already).

I think it would be unfair to force a player to finish a floor before they can go back to the elevator. Floors that have been completed, the could elevator list floors completed and uncompleted. Random floor option will have completed floors removed from the possible random pool. Another way of trapping a player that could be allowed is if they entered a room that triggers doors to lock or whatever. Getting out is the puzzle. Some games I have been playing like Skyrim I've been I to caves where my npc follower mentions she doesn't have a good feeling while approaching a certain side tunnel, which was a warning of what was to come. The creature beyond it was too powerful for my characters level, but I was able to retreat and leave the caves for another time. So maybe there could be at the start of the game for an early warning system like that for hard areas to be turned on for beginner players and the experienced players can leave it off. Being able to leave a floor because you can't figure out the final puzzle or cannot find the hidden room whatever, perhaps a riddle you need to solve ought to be up to the player, i think away.

Another reason also a level designer might request an object needed for a puzzle to be hidden on another floor or added as a prize for completing a puzzle on someone else's floor.(the problem with that perhaps is the player will look high and low on the a floor where something needs fixing or an object not realizing it has been placed on another floor, unless the player is told object x has been cast out of the world into another. But the downside of this if used a lot is the player doing alot of running back and forth, but for a couple of puzzles this could work, further linking different floors to one another in the overall sense of things.
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby ralphmerridew » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:11 pm

I'd suggest not allowing objects to be transferred between floors; you'd have to be aware of everything on every other floor otherwise. Imagine having a puzzle that requires feeding a hungry creature. You'd have to know which objects from other floors to have it accept, or arbitrarily just have it refuse food objects from other floors. If you allow objects to be transferred between floors, but players just get used to objects not working on other floors, then requiring an object from another floor is bad. You'd better at least give a reason why the player should expect to use that one object.
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Re: Ding, the Elevator door opens....

Postby DazaKiwi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:03 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:I'd suggest not allowing objects to be transferred between floors; you'd have to be aware of everything on every other floor otherwise. Imagine having a puzzle that requires feeding a hungry creature. You'd have to know which objects from other floors to have it accept, or arbitrarily just have it refuse food objects from other floors. If you allow objects to be transferred between floors, but players just get used to objects not working on other floors, then requiring an object from another floor is bad. You'd better at least give a reason why the player should expect to use that one object.


What I had in mind for this problem is using groups. Say a puzzle requires a wrench to open or close a valve. But the player has an object from a sci-fi themed floor and uses that. Which the puzzle task could check if object belongs to group "Behaves like a wrench" . I know there is a property already "is editable" that an object can be selected as. For the hungry creature idea, finding out what the creature accepts could be part of the puzzle. As a player I would first think it would have to be food from its own world. Or there could be a sign near where it is held that says only eats birds or a particular animal that is only found on your floor. Else if say its birds, you could create a group yourself called "Is a type of Bird". If a designer wants to have some of his puzzles to be able to cross over with other worlds, he can create a unique group if needed. And inform the rest of the designers on a private topic thread available only to the designers.

I thought it would be more interesting allowing use of some objects from other worlds with groups being the cross check. Each floor designer can outline their idea on the private thread, as not to give away spoilers. Which can help minimize clashes. What if two people want to have their theme and world to be based on the Moon?
Knowing what world or time a designer is going to use could be handy in coming up with a solute that involves something from another floor. Ie. the player needs ice. Another floor could be an artic environment.

However the thing would be not to do this too often, to avoid the player having to go back and forwards between worlds to get stuff. But for some puzzles it would be ok. The player can write down I need such and such to complete puzzle x on floor 4. The player will have to. Entold or hinted at the required object is not on the current floor to also avoid player confused, incase it is hidden on the floor somewhere.

But I had in mind originally use of common objects, like in real life a hammer brought at any hardware store in the world will still drive in nails. So if the player had to hammer in nails it would be a bit silly if only a hammer or object that behaves like a hammer, from a designers world where it's needed will work.
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