The Game Experience

After reading a bit from the Art of Game Design, I’ve been trying to focus on what kinds of experiences I’d like players to have within the game that I’m designing; The Templars of Ra.  Of course there are the obvious, that I’d like players to have fun, and to enjoy playing the game, but those are general experiences that don’t easily lend themselves toward all of the specific experiences that add up to a fun and enjoyable game.  So I need to get down to specifics.

I guess one of the major experiences I’d like to convey would be a convincing setting. Where the player actually feels like they’re in the world of ancient, mythological Egypt.  This might be accomplished by using appropriate graphics, music and storyline. 

Other experiences I’d like to share would be a feeling of progression through the game, even during short play periods.  Unlike games similar to LotRO or EQ where it seems like it takes forever just to get a level once you hit the treadmill of the mid-levels.  I’d like a pace a bit slower than Guild Wars, and maybe just a tad faster than current day DAoC.  BUT, I also don’t want players feeling like they *MUST* level TODAY, in order for them to feel like they’re making real progress towards “level cap.” And once a player reaches “level cap” or the “end game,” I’d still like them to feel like there are things for them to accomplish and goals for them to progress toward.

I definitely want to have an economy mechanic similar to EVE online, and maybe a craft training mechanic similar to EVE’s “real-time” training as well, but “experiential  levelling” would still determine such things as “powers” and weapon wielding abilities. OR perhaps make crafting exercises more like the mini-games that are found in Wiz101 where by playing various games, you can earn back your health, mana, and other prizes; just change the rewards to crafting-appropriate rewards like, basic weapon, magic weapon, or masterpiece, or whatever… 

I also want players to experience a sense of wonder when they venture to new areas and encounter new mobs. And to be amused and surprised by some of these things, as well as by the story and quest lines.  Exploration should be an activity that is rewarded, and I’d like to do away with artificial “zone-boundaries,” if at all possible.

I definitely want players to experience a sense of progression through exploration, questing, and hunting (hopefully hunting or some other natural, logical behavior would replace the kill x random number of mobs “grinding”). I’d also like players to gain a sense of relationship building with the NPC’s by using sliding scales of “alignment” that an NPC would be able to pick up on, although not necessarily immediately. Kind of a similar mechanic as that used in “The Sims” games. A first encounter with an NPC may be neutral, or not – maybe by recognizing talismans or armor that a player is wearing that has come from alignment based quests or deeds.  It might be best to go into town dressed in neutral gear until you know which NPC’s you want to deal with… or some such thing… But changing your clothes after the encounter should not suddenly make them trust you – NPC’s should remember what they initially thought of you until you do something to change their mind. This data would need to be saved in the character record, not the NPC record…

After some more reading last night I came up with a few more feelings or impressions that I’d like players to experience while playing Templars of Ra.  Those would be:

  •  the mystery that is ancient Egypt
  • The luxury of Cleopatra
  • Decadence of the Harem/Caravan
  • The danger of both the desert heat, and water denizens
  • Power of Pharaoh, Moses, and other “living gods”
  • The monumental scale of the architecture

A lot of these ideas I’d already captured in my design document/script, but they may not have been quite as prominent as I’m now beginning to see they maybe should have been. Anyways, this is getting to be a much longer post than I anticipated. I’ll let it stand as it is and try to keep y’all updated with my progress on this side project.

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