Hi everyone,

I wanted to post a discussion on an idea I've had for a Flash project. Well, it's more of a game, but I prefer to call it a project to get rid of any stereotypical expectations of what a Flash game should look like. This is more of an experiment, if you will.

However, as the title says, I would like to try to form up a team of people who, for fun and adventure, would like to see this through because I think it's pretty unique and has some potential.

... But then that's my opinion, so lets discuss. Oh, and this idea is pretty lengthy, but I've put a lot of thought and time behind creating it, so please enjoy it too!

This is a little lengthy, but I've put much thought behind it, so please enjoy!


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Introduction â" If given the most basic tools of creation, what would someone make?

This is just an introduction to the idea I've come up with.

I've always been one for new ideas, unique ones that stand away from your typical motocross, golf, defence game you see all over the internet. Although fun, the uniqueness is fading. I wanted to come up with an idea that was not only new, but also dynamic; able to go in any direction unforeseen.

However, something like that borders along some funky AI program that has the ability to make it's own decisions. Although I've been doing Flash for quite some time (although nowhere close to professionally), this wasn't possible for me. However, if you replace AI with a human imagination ... well then we're getting somewhere.


I've come up with an experimental Flash idea that looks into the imagination of the players. The experiment is basically asking this question: If given the most basic tools of creation, what would someone make? Yes, I know you're asking what exactly that means. I'll explain it's two parts quickly.

1.The basic tools of creation are simply what is sounds like. Program some way of creating 'stuff' and only giving the tools to the player.

2.What would they make? To develop it, you would have some notion of what you program could do, but to those who didn't, what would they make? Would they try something typical, or something completely random and new?

I then, with the help of a friend, tied this idea into a interesting game. The following will be the three parts to this game as well as some technical information.




CMD â" My World

The adventure take place through the eyes of you, the player, who happens to be looking into this other world through a terminal; the computer screen/program. As you begin, the program will run you through creating 'life', a character whose life you will be watching. Through the use of commands, or CMD's, you will learn that the program is used only through typing these commands.

Once the character is created, you will begin in the main area of the game, the House.



The House â" The Experiment

Although the player won't know what the experiment is really, this is where it'll all happen. The house, where the character lives, is completely blank. To the character, it's always been such and he/she doesn't seem to mind.

The player will be given basic CMD's (or those tools mentioned in the intro), to create objects for this house. However, that is all they will be given which brings up the question once again, what will they create?


As time progresses, the character will have 'though bubbles' appear above his/her head. In these thought bubbles will be some abstract image. It will be up to the player, who by now should be considered the guardian of this little fellow, to interpret these thoughts (or needs). They will then have to satisfy these needs by creatively coming up with a solution.

For example (very simple): the character might think a 'water droplet' image. This can be interpreted as the need for a drink, bath, or the want for a pool. The player can do whichever, and the need will be satisfied.


I should stop here and answer the question I know you're asking. What happens if they type in an object that isn't part of the program? Well, remember when I said I wanted it to be dynamic and go in directions unforeseen? This is what I meant.

CMD's that are not part of the program, or abnormal CMD's, will be stored in a log. From here, we can look through them and take out objects that people have tried, create them and implement them thus creating a larger and larger database of objects to create. It is also the hope that people will try to do things other than create objects ... the idea is think outside the box.

Basically, if it's not implement, it will be logged. If it's a good idea, it'll be implement so it'll work the next time someone tries to do it.



NPC Worlds â" The Adventure

Although it is an experiment, CMD (short form) should also be fun and have some content to it. This is where the idea of NPC worlds come in; where the character will embark on a journey to find out what is happening around him. Think of it as a program (character) starting to wonder where it came from.

Story wise, eventually this character of yours will come to the realization that these objects/processes happening and appearing before him must come from somewhere. He will travel to different worlds via portals that open up from his house (or hub). Each world will be different from the previous in looks and in style, and will progress the story further.

However, unlike the House where, as the guardian player (nice title!), you control what happens around the character; in the NPC Worlds, you will influence him/her. Control will not be completely to the player in the sense you'll be moving the arrow keys to control the character. Rather, through the use of different CMD's, you'll influence the thought/movement of the character program.

For example, you could use the CMD's to tell the character to talk to an NPC, pick up an object or interact with the environment in other ways.


Now to stop and answer another question I know you're asking. What is the conflict that happens throughout these worlds, it'll be awfully boring if you simply walk around. Well each world will have their own problem or 'bug' if you will, since they are programmed after all. These puzzles will unveil more to progress the story. And no, there will not be combat.



My World â" With a new understanding comes new possibilities

Once the story is completed and the character comes to know of this higher being (you) watching over him/her, they will be able to control a program themselves. Technically speaking, as the player you will be able to create your own mini-world.

Using objects given to you, players will be able to create a mini mapped area that other players can connect to and play. These player worlds (or My Worlds), can be used for small quests, showing off houses or ideas for environments. Now, this doesn't mean it'll be a multiplayer space, each connection to a player's world will be instanced to that single player to explore.




Community Driven â" What happens outside of CMD?

So there you have it. The basic premise and idea behind my project idea. But wait, there's still more! Although this is not a multiplayer space, there should be a heavy focus on a community. This will take place in three parts:



Forum â" Getting involved and sharing ideas

Because the idea behind CMD is to be a constant growth, the forum would be a great place to share those ideas amongst players. For example, someone may happen to build/create something within The House that they think nobody else has. Well share it!

Or perhaps you think you have unique looking house with unique objects and want to show it off without giving away their CMD codes. Well screen shot it and share it with the community to be rated.

The forum could always be a great place to have players suggest new objects/processes for the house, or even suggest new NPC Worlds. Although the main story might be over, there's nothing stopping new NPC Worlds from emerging with new puzzles to figure out.



Avatar Hangout â" Show off your character

As mentioned before, this is not a multiplayer project. But that's speaking in terms of the game itself. A chat function would be great to have where players can connect to specific worlds that perhaps resemble current NPC worlds, to chat amongst themselves.

They will also be able to show off their avatars from their adventures. Clothing will be unlocked throughout the game in a random point fashion. More to be explained later.



Minigames â" Fun outside the world

Minigames are a great way to keep a community competitive. While keeping them themed around CMD itself, one example of a minigame would be a battle card game. These cards could also be found throughout the game in a random point fashion.


Another question to be answered, random points? Well there will be some sort of point system, where's the fun without one! Points will be given in three ways. First, as the player fulfills the needs of the character they will be given points; second through completing the quests in the NPC worlds, and thirdly from random finds.

With these points you will be able to choose from a variety of 'random drop' items. For example, you may use it to unlock random cards for the card minigame (or other minigame items), or random clothing for your character to show off.

Of course, all of these will be tradable in the avatar hangout.




Technical Information

The system itself is tile based on the isometric plane. And so far the implementation of new objects is as simple as importing the four directions of an object, adding it to the object timeline and naming it table_d. From there you can easily build it by typing build table, have it appear, rotate it and place it. It will also know if objects are overlapping and will not let you place objects or rotate them.

Also made so far are what I call 'upper' objects, things that sit ontop others. So far with that you can build an upper object (build lamp), and move it around. It will know when it is on top of something that can hold it, such as a table.

The objects in CMD use what I call an 'attribute' system. Each object will store various information including the top five attributes that go with it. For example, a bed might contain the attributes 'soft, comfort, sleep'. This will be used when comparing the needs of the character with objects around him/her.

Saving should be simple. I've designed it in such a way that object placement are stored by their tile number, and objects that span multiple tiles will point to the main tile of the group. Once a database is set up, it's only a matter of storing and retrieving it from there.




Conclusion

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!

The last question I know you're asking is how far along the process is this project. Well, to be honest it's not very far. There is no real team involved, just me doing the programming and a friend helping out with conceptual design and a little PHP data basing. What I do have so far are just random test SWF's involving the House, such as placement of objects and the system of storing which is where as outlined above.

Am I asking for help? Yes, if you want to work for free, but I also want a discussion about any potential and design of this project, and any useful suggestion and tips you fellow Flashers can give.

Thanks alot!