As I established in my inaugural post, I’m a hobby game design nerd. So given the opportunity to attend the Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game this weekend at Ralph Wilson Stadium, what do I look forward to? That’s right…how the experience can apply to the browser-based game I’m working on. Forget that I’ll be in club seating. Forget that I’ll have a Fanvision on me. Forget that I’ll probably drink enough beer to forget everything anyway…
I won’t bore you with my analytical break down of how the game of football could apply to the design of an MMO. Instead, I wanted to talk about the design of my favorite game and get some feedback on yours…
My all-time favorite game design model is the board game Clue. I just think it is one of the most entertaining games I’ve played to this day. It has a number of aspects that I find indicative of any successful game.
- With a very small learning curve, it is easy to set up and play.
- There is a cast of in-game characters in addition to the players.
- There is a known set of possible outcomes with a set of random outcomes.
- It has a sandbox-like play space.
- There are defined rules and reasons for movement.
- There is a decent amount of player skill involved.
- There is resolution to each game with a huge re-playability factor.
The part I like most about Clue is the mystery of who dun it, with what and where? Well, yeah Makkaio, that’s pretty much the whole reason the game was popular. Sure. But I think a lot of what is missed in game design today is the true feel of a living, breathing environment. Part of me still believes the answer to fixing that lies somewhere in the design of Clue.
I don’t mean to rip the game off directly. But hey, there is a certain dynamic that well-used randomization can create in a game. It’s been tried, but not perfected in games like Matrix Online, City of Heroes/Villains, and, to a lesser extent, D&D Online. But I think the players saw through the thin veil of work that was put into randomizing content and instances. There was so much more the developers could have done with those systems.
A game that I anticipate will use the “Clue Model” in an interesting way will be Rift: Planes of Telara. They may not know they are using that model, but they are when it comes to the “rift” system they’re putting in place. Random generated “rift” with a set of random goals picked from a set of possible outcomes with a different but familiar puzzle to solve each time an instance is played. Sound familiar?
Since I don’t like to create walls of text…I will leave it there and look forward to thoughts and discussion…