Game development > Game design

unique adventures, new ways

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gfx johnny:
Hi all - today i'm rather a design johnny ;D

Yesterday i played Loom again after all these years, and i'm still loving it :) Its so well designed and unique, just fantastic. You don't need an inventory, nor the classic verbs. Nevertheless the drafts are a nice replacement for that, allowing new kind of riddles. Of course there are more games who try to enhance the old ways (e.g. Death Gate).

So, what do you think? Better to go the classic way, using verbs or icons representing actions the character can do, or do you rather want to see new innovations, if they enhance the game experience?

And what about new ideas? I guess its easy to destroy an adventure with stupid new innovations ;) Do you have any good ideas? Oh well, i dont want to steal your conceptions :D So i will throw in some of my ideas. After playing loom, i thought about some kind of new ways to control the character.

I found some concepts, for example you could play some kind of robot. Remember "Beneath a steel sky?" ;D Oh man, Joey was so cool, and his voice, too :) He was just a sidekick back there, but i think playing some kind of intelligent and sarcastic machine could be interesting; or you could play some kind of cybernetic human, so it wouldn't be too strange/alien. In BASS, you had to find new shells for your robot so he was able to do other things. So that was "my" first idea... as a robot, you would have some default tools; some kind of grasper/picker arm, an analysis tool (scanner, or a telescope perhaps) to replace the classic verbs. It could be a challenge to find new tools so you have more options. You could even avoid an inventory, so your robot can just take one or two items with him. Plenty of room for unique riddles i guess. But not that kind of a new idea, also ;)

I guess loom influences me more than i want to ;) I just love the concept behind it. Weaving spells, the whole guild concept and so on. I guess spells are a common way to enhance the possibilities of your character. Several games use spells. Another idea based on that would be a super hero main character: he would have unique super powers who will allow interaction with the game world. He could learn new powers (perhaps from his enemies or by drinking a power potion ;D) or perhaps you can choose between several heros with different sets of powers. But i dont know if this idea is too strange for some people.

Oh well, i guess i'm stuck here... Loom ist controlling my every thought, i fear... ;)  i think i just hit a dead-end. So, anyone wants to discuss this matter? Anyone thought about this yet? I would love to hear your ideas, your comments about this aspect of adventures. And don't limit yourself to the facets described here - let this thread be about every new idea you can have. Tell me! :)

Well, I for myself work on a very classical adventure with only one real special thing, two different endings, to be played with different actors depending on a choice you have to make at a certain point of the game. But well, in the end this isn't THAT special  ;)

As this is the first game I ever really worked on I think it's not a good idea to re-invent the wheel before learning the basics.

I never played Loom, so I don't know what new ways it went, but innovations, as long as they are well done, are always good, at least for me. I like old-shool adventures very much, be it point&click or with a parser, but if someone comes with a whole new systems I'm more than interested to play it, and as long as the game still has that atmosphere an adventure needs for me (that you become a part of the story, that the virtual world becomes real for you while playing) - why not?
As long it does not end in a so-called action-adventure where the only adventure-part is collecting keys and pushing switches to open doors I say go for it  8)

Playing a sarcastic robot sounds good ... maybe you should add some depressions and call him Marvin  ;)
The idea to having to update him to solve different riddles is also good, as long as it's not used too much - I think then it could become boring after a while ... but well, that depends on how you do it I guess.

The idea with the diefferent super-heroes is also good - everyone has to solve certain riddles depending on his abilities, like in Maniac Mansion ... if this is well done it could be a very good reason to play the game very often with different actors. But you have to be careful while designing the riddles then, not that one of chars isn't able to solve the game because he turns out to be a not so super super-hero  ;D

gfx johnny:

In Loom, you play Bobbin, 17 year old Weaver. You dont use verbs or inventory. A single mouse click is for selecting things, doubleclick is for using it. Its used most of the time for giving information about a thing (~look at).

Then you just have your distaff, a weaver instrument. Its a wooden staff with whom you can weave drafts (~spells). The staff is seperated in different parts, and every part is representing one note. To finish a draft/spell, you must play 4 notes using the right combination. You start with three notes (c,d,e) and only a few drafts. For solving important steps you get new notes.

For example, you will find a green dyeing cauldron to color clothes (see above). If you use it, it will play the 4 notes for dying something green. If you play the notes in reverse order, you could dye somthing green to white. At one point of the game, you need to dye white sheeps green, so a dragon who kills the sheep will fetch you instead, because everything else (sheep&grass) is green ;)

So instead of verbs you just use your drafts. You will learn several spells, for example: open, light, mirror, drain, fear, invisibility.

So, its not just a special thing, its elementary. After all, its the only thing you can actually do ;D

Btw: it would be too cool if anyone could throw in some more ideas or facets to develop new ones. :)

Shit, just wrote an answer and then my browser crashed  >:(

Anyway, when you say "its the only thing you can actually do" - does that mean that there are not even conversation possible, or did you refer just to the "active" game part?

And for really new ideas ... I'm afraid it's way to hot to be creative today  8)

But there is a thread about multiplayer-mode somewhere in this forum, that is something I REALLY want to see some day, though it's very complicated to do without going too far in the role-play direction ... but definately interesting for me.
Something like Maniac Mansion perhaps, with different characters that have to work together to solve some tasks.

But as mentioned in the thread - that is VERY hard to plan, because a lot of problems arise that do not occur in single-player mode, like one player takes an important item and then goes offline etc. ... I think it could only be done with a really limited amount of players, lets say 2 or 3, not a mmorpg or something. And you have to find a way handling the items of players that leave and so on ... but it could be a very interesting new kind of game I think.

Here is a link to the thread:

gfx johnny:

--- Quote ---anyway, when you say "its the only thing you can actually do" - does that mean that there are not even conversation possible, or did you refer just to the "active" game part?
--- End quote ---
You wont choose your answers during a conversation, nor an overall direction. Loom is some kind of fairy tale, with its beautiful music (Tschaykovski's swan lake), its characters and its story.

I think a multiplayer mode in an adventure would be interesting, but that's too much for me. I want to create something like a classic adventure, but with a new way to control and solve it. I guess one adventure started using verbs (text aera), and then almost every adventure just did it the same way. This kind of control is obvious, but rare masterpieces like Loom (my opinion of course) show us you can do it differently.

And i will use Wintermute, so multiplayer support had to be there, too. I think thats not a priority for Wintermute at the moment. And i wouldnt make it one, if i were Mnemonic :) 


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