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Restoration: from Ruins to Like New

The player will see many wrecked/ruined areas of the city which the players seek to reconstitute (that being a goal of the game). Most areas will initially look like much of the views we saw in BS1 BS2 with leaks, stains, garbage, puddles, wreckage, floodings of water, holes torn in walls exposing pipes, bodies, smashed concrete with chunks and rebar showing, furniture in various states, misc discarded items, and sometimes evidence of recent habitation.


One part of the game will be fixing up such places to look more like they did when the city was new and to make them function and be livable again (and even civilized).

This all means that everything the player sees is composed of small pieces (objects) of changeable terrain -- not unchangeably static/inert as in most MMORPG games. Games like the Sims have these pieces in very regular squares to make them easily interchangeable, but this proposed game goes further with more life-like irregularities and much more variable detail. The players can change those object's and the game will retain those changes.

Each individual object piece may (likely) start in a ruined state which could be bit by bit (via player actions) repaired/rebuilt/renewed/improved. The game mechanism would have these 'objects' rendered differently as the are changed -- drawn with different textures(simple like corroded/battered/pristine) or be removed (no longer drawn) or be replaced/substituted with a better looking/working object (different shape -- like a wall with a 3D hole replaced with intact wall panel). This requires the game client to display many more distinct/discrete objects instead of a static terrain 'mesh' (a 'level') seen in many shooter games. BS1/BS2 had lots of objects you could pickup/move/throw/burn/change, but if you notice they still were a small minority and the rest were static objects in the scenes. THIS game relies on there being a magnitude more interchangeable objects/details to allow things in the world to be greatly varied -- to reperesent not just changing ruined/fixed states, but also for many perceived flavors and themes and player customized content.

These detailed objects in the game terrain are 'functional' -- they cause things to happen. Broken pipes cause a puddle on the floor and a leak animation. Torn up wiring wont work to carry electricity (and may issue blue sparks threateningly). A broken machine wont function. A ruined stairway cant be climbed normally. A bombed/burned out room doesnt attract NPC residents. But if these things are repaired -- the stairs allows easy traversal/passage, the conduits carry electricity needed by other things, the pipes dont leak and take water somewhere, the machines do something useful and a safe furnished room attracts occupants. All can be fixed or replaced with varying effort/parts/skill to restore function. Missions to get parts/materials/replacements/to get skilled labor/to do the repairs will take the players effort of searching about the world in still ruined sections of the city or off to interact with other players/NPCs who can supply what is needed.

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The fundamental game mechanism is built around INTERCHANGEABLE terrain Building blocks. Another term I used for these is 'TEMPLATE' because they are patterns that are used to create the actual 'instances' seen in the game world, made through initializing the many interchangeable details and options. Building blocks define chunks/sections of building interiors/rooms -- which are strung together (side by side) to build the city areas of the game. The server maintains persistant data about these built up instances and the client is told what to display about them to the user. If another player/NPC changes something in the game, the player will see those changes when viewing that particular spot. What makes this game system different from most others is that these objects will have many more INTERCHANGEABLE sub-objects within them. This allows many-many more variations and things to change apperance/function when player act on them. Those sub-objects themselves have in turn many specifiable/optional details to further increase the combinations and to allow things to be unique.

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A building block's data includes all the things the server and client need to make it work (more) like something real.
Alot is inherited from the 'template' and others details are set by the initialized options:

- The basic volume shape ( 3D mesh) defining the basic space (within the external walls). The space shapes dont all have to be boringly square -- they can be L-bends, Tees, actually all kinds of irregular shapes in all dimensions. Generally when linked, floors/ceilings will match up properly.
- Interface profiles define what other building blocks can connect to and where on them (matching openings) . This is what allows the game server to do auto-generation to add/extend new sections in the city without a developer having to do it explicitly (and tediously as is more normal with hand crafted 'unique' terrain).
- There is Navigation/collision map data which controls where players/NPCs can move (these may include up and down walls, across ceilings -- if spider splicer skills are allowed for players/NPCs)
- Traffic Paths for routine NPC traffic (like in GTA San Andreas where all the crowds of people(NPCs) walking about in many places made the game seem alot less empty)
- External walls are the base Structural and visual element lining the space. They are the strong solid structure of metal/brickwork/concrete that holds out the water pressure and supports floors and ceilings.
- There are settable visual detail for the external wall (ie- concrete texture/color/patterns/stains) usually consistant for an overal structure/building.
- Frequently the external wall has a gap between it and a covering interior (false) wall. The gap may hold utility structures (vents/conduits/pipes/tubes/access ways) or simply be covered with a more aesthetic inner surface.
- Exterior Windows - some building blocks have view portals into the 'outside' thru which Raptures skyline and the sea can be seen. Buildings/seafloor/sealife/submarines/players in diving suits on the other side of the external wall would be visible.
- Just inside the external walls there often are functional objects (pipes,conduits, etc..). Sometimes they are hidden behind (false) wall panels, othertimes exposed. They normally match up on adjacent building blocks, simulating their continuity thru the structure/building,
- Wall Pannels (for interior 'false' walls) are seperate sub-objects which can be repaired/replaced (to get rid those unsightly holes and ugly exposed pipes). They can be patched, completely replaced, cleaned, repainted, decorated.
- Interior surface Sub-section (wall/ceiling/floor) panels may be made out of metal, wood, stone, plaster, concrete, glass.
They have individual details like Paint/Wallpaper/texture/carpets/decorative features of many styles/variations (and can be in chipped/stained/defaced/clean states). They can be renewed or even changed or removed to leaving bare material.
- Some wall panels have imbedded objects like closets, utility cabinets, shelving, vents extend into the gap or are access hatches to reach utilities behind the false wall surface for maintenance.

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Additional objects can be placed on wall/ceiling/floors:

- Mounted (placed objects that stick out of from walls) -- either functional (ie- PayPhone) or interesting 'theme' details (ie- Art Deco decorations/posters).
- Placement will not be restricted except to prevent multiple objects from overlapping.
- Objects can be fastened to the ceiling as well.
- Freestanding objects can be optionally added/placed anywhere on the flat floor.
- Structural elements like support pillars may exist within wide open spaces.
- Signs can be placed at a variety of position on wall panels. Typically a shop/store has signrights on its frontage walls that prohibit others from placing signs without permission. Advertising signs and more mundane ones are common details.
- Neon Signs/Lights/Vents/outlets/lockers/shelves/loudspeakers/controls/TVs/Phones/.. all those things seen in BS1 BS2
- Machinery - exposed machinery is usually visible in non-public places to allow ease of access for maintenance

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Subdividing walls may be used to break up the large spaces defines by the external walls to form rooms and hallways. These form walled sections where smaller 'room' objects can be inserted -- like a Mall Concourse which has 'room' shop spaces defined to either side (in which instances of standard shops can be placed).

- 'Room' objects are an independant grouping of details/objects which fit the 'room' space and match the available openings into that 'room' space (ie- a standard door/frontage onto a hallway). Also being TEMPLATES, they are defined as seperate object which when instanced (options initialized) can be placed as a'room' and quickly fill in alot of detail. It is a modular system.
- Several 'room' units with connecting openings can be adjacent to create more complicated arrangements. Likely there would be inter-floor transitions for slit level combinations. Consider that 'rooms' are modular blocks placed within the larger 'building blocks'.
- Frontage walls are a 'room' side that seperates the room interior from a building blocks hallway. Optional features are doorways/windows/display cases/open counters... A Frontage wall is included/inserted as part of the 'room' instance as are other objects (like signs) hung on the outer side of it.
- Doorways and doors have many sizes/style options, including lock features (you will be able to smash in those blocked 'doors to nowhere' in THIS game, because there will now be something behind it).

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Some 'building blocks' are multi-leveled and have multiple floors/ceilings and transitions between them.

- Transition features between floors are stairs/ladders/ramps/elevators/shafts/escalators/manhole covers) -- these too are objects.
- Floors can be modularly stackable (stacked 'building blocks') with a standard transition between the adjacent levels. Many of the tall Rapture buildings we saw out the ocean windows would have this kind of design.
- Multi-story buildings have duplicate sized floors with stairwells/elevators/utility ways joining them. Each floor
can be customized with somewhat different floor plans (but will still fit the standard 'interface' between them)
- some buildings have partial floors allowing tall vertical open spaces (they usually have railings/balconies/catwalks).
The Hotel you saw early in BS1 and many of the appartment 'courts' have central open spaces with floors around the edges.

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Varieties of building block types:

- Concourses and Malls - central halls with shops to either side or single side hallway (often with window wall) and row of shops on one side. Often multi-level.
- Connecting ways - long narrow hallways usually used between buildings - straight/L-bends/Tees/S-bends/ and vertical transitions - ramps/stairs. Glass tunnels used in public places (where the impressive sea view can be appreciated)
- Streetways - larger connections between city 'buildings' that simulate the openness of a real cities streets. Used as major throughfares for transportation (trolley tracks on some - I would have this city have more than the pathetic caricature of a trolley system that we saw). Would have a lower 'sewer' and utility level, as they serve as the main interlink bewteen parts of the cityscape (many of people dont realize how much is hidden underground in real cities).
- Plazas & Squares - wide spots in the Streetways with groupings of shops and other facilities, often with central large decorations. Usually are intersections between multiple major throughfares and have clusters of buildings adjacent.
- Rock tunnels - inexpensive interior spaces hacked out of native rock (so not needing the expensive materials that the cityscape buildings required to withstand the water pressure). They can be unfinished/smoothed rock/partially patched.
Some tunnels may extend quite far out from the city center to reach important raw materials sites (mines/oil wells/geothermals, hazardous storage dumps, industrial plant sites). Long rock-cut tunnels would be cheaper than oceanbed structures and be more convienent than submarines when there is substantial traffic (materials/workers) and likely would include a haulage tramway. They would also be used as covered utility lines out to distant sites.
- Concrete tunnels - squared/round/inverted-u-shaped, lined with concrete thru a tunnel cut thru rock/sediment, Some are of regular shape - form-built concrete with a smooth regular surface, while others are irregular in shape (solid rock tunnels with sprayed on concrete to seal them properly). Silmilar use to Rock Tunnels. The original city foundations usually had inspection access using such tunnels.
- Caverns - Large spaces cut out of rock (sometimes with interior support columns when they are large). Places like Paupers Drop were build out of an early pressurized hollowed areas originally used as construction bases. Like rock tunnels, they were much cheaper to build. Used for things like warehousing/industry/manufacturing/farms, when aesthetics do not matter.
- Pressure Portals - frequent pressure safe mechanism that localize pressure integrity failures -- contain strong pressure doors.
- Airlocks - compartments with two sets of doors that are never both open, so act as a failsafe between city sections (they are also used to traverse from the inside city interior to the 'outside' sea areas).
- External structures like train lines (Atlantic Express was a monorail system with a specific guideway structure for its 'track'). Other things like large pipelines/storagetanks/fish pens fall into this category.
- Garages/docks for submarines and bathyspheres - a variant on an airlock but much larger.
- Green houses - fish and seaweed would be insufficient for food, so large spaces to mass grow vegetables/hybrid grains/animals are needed. The depth of the city doesnt allow sunlight to reach it, so there is little reason to have windows. So electic lights and heating would work well even inside (cheaper) tunnels and caverns.

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Props - free standing or attached objects which are placed inside the 'spaces'. They usually are in fixed position:

- Kiosks and stands
- Vending machines, pneumo (Jet Postal) stations, phone booths, etc..
- Pole mounted Signs/TVs/phones/announcement speakers
- Streetlights/lamps
- Decorations (planters/statues and scuptures/fountains/Mosaics/trees&bushes)
- Industrial machinery (all kinds)
- Temporary support installations (Jacks/Pillars/Girder retainers) placed to prevent collapse when the base structure was failing. Old ones from the past lasted into the current time and might be improved (leaking ones for example). Complete repairs may take extensive work. New ones may be built/placed to help stabalize an area being reconstituted.

Other 'props' are moveables:

- Furniture - tables chairs, desks, cabinets, all kinds of interior itemsetc..
- Vehicles (which can move like trolleys/trains/tramways)
- Carts (and moveable stands)
- Portable equiptment of all kinds (welding tanks and fuel drums)
- Barricades
- Chunks of stone and wreckage
- Graffiti - many locations have walls defaced with writing or pictures which can be cleaned off. A proposed game mechanism would allow players to place new 'graffiti' in various wall/floor places. 'Decals' are texture overlays which in the game could be placed on walls/ceiling/floors. Standard 'signs' are easiest, but Player specified text/symbols is possible. Similar to custom signs.

Others 'props' are Containers (most should also be 'moveables'):

- Boxes and crates and luggage
- Cabinets and desks and shelves
- Toolboxes and lockers
- When did you ever in RL actually find anything good in an ashtray/bin ??
- Safes

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