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City Design Resolution :
- While the design of the city was being fleshed out in the pre-stages of the' "Help us create this game" phase, the Collaboration Community would be adding ideas and proposals to fill in the City/World map (and including things like where do all those blocked doors really go that we saw in all the BS1/BS2 buildings.) The Company developers would request/take/filter alot of inputs from Players for generating the Overall Layout of the City (for Seed Maps).
- Suggestions and corrections done by the Players would save alot of money $$$$ (as per the whole Collaboration Scheme). There is ALOT of specific details needed for this project. The City plan would be developed and shown to designated Players to make further suggestions (with any reasoning/justifications given). Details would be refined and assessed for 'doability'.
- There would probably be alot of debates about what components of the city should be contained/connect and where. Content requests would be posted for filler material to get the initial areas ready (there are plenty of assets that can be salvaged from the BS1/BS2/MP/DLC content and converted, and others modified to be variations).
- All the different interrelated 'game world systems' need to be clarified/finalized (and no matter how good the pre-planning, additional elements will have to be added). Example - how the electical power system works and the props/structure modules needed and how they all fit into the modular 'builing block' system - those interrelate with the damage/repair actions and tools and fabrication aspects of the game.
- Company employees would have final say, but a plan would eventually be decided. At some point decisions will have to be made and differences of opinions resolved so that the City Layout can take shape. The pieces would be organized, prioritized and divided up. Then the players could get to work to create/define the specific assets for the layout of the city and all the components that would make it up... The Company developers would do the parts they-only can do (game engine modifications) and incorporate the pieces into the 'World' so that proper testing can be carried out.
- For areas of the city that would be auto-generated, sufficient details (parameter data) would be created to guide later piecemeal generation. (as mentioned before -- that 'seed' detail will guarantee that the auto-generated things will 'fit in' to the overall plan).
- Exposing such details would not really be 'giving away the whole game' as much of the details are still quite nebulous and subject to later Auto-Generation (filling in the full details). So player could find out there are "some buildings over there on the map" doesnt give much away to anyone who has already looke out the Windows in the Solo game. The game would also take shape as direct effect of player interaction - which can beforehand only be guessed at.
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Building the Seed Map for the Bioshock Rapture MMORPG:
Work that would be done by the developers to set the basic shape of Rapture and supply guideline data for the Auto-Generation system to follow.
- Rapture Canon and Lore.
- Description of City from Games and Book (ex- City is about 3 miles by 3 miles, sized for ~20000 people).
- Known locations from the BS1/BS2 games (how they generally connect/proximity). Known Plazas and Squares...
- Limitations on how much of the city is to pre-exist (in full detail for the initial game start) and how much needs to be 'seeded' with sufficient specific details to be cohesive/coordinated and what other details can be left to the auto-generation system.
- Views out of windows that show general position of 'Landmarks' (mostly tall buildings). The landmarks would be represented with general shape, but interiors we've never seen can be fudged.
- Use Map of Metro and (the partial) Atlantic Express (which shows some general ocean floor contours, position of ridges, etc...) to guide some feature placements.
- Add/adjust logical details to better explain the City's existance :
--- - Location given as (63 degrees 2 mins N, 29 degrees 55 mins W) place Rapture in an area where the ocean floor depth is 1,000-2,000 meters (far too deep).
--- - Make the City Site as an old undersea Volcano would explain a much less severe depth (200 meters), the Geothermal activity, the Dropoff Abyss (an old collapsed magma chamber or an edge down to the normal depth) and a chunk sticking up near the surface (Mt Ryan) that could block the path of Icebergs from destroying the city at such a lesser depth.
--- - There would be substantial outlying areas of the City that to make it 'self-sufficient'. We didnt see these in the games so the details are pretty much open.
- These contraints are preferences and can be subject to more than a little adjusting/creativity if required.
- Not every inch of that 3x3 mile area is covered with buildings. Ex- the irregularity of the seabed - many places too soft for foundations - (like Central Park in Manhattan). City plan SHOULD have irregularities to keep it from looking like a D&D map created on graph paper).
- The Rapture location would likely have included alot of raised exposed rock to match many of the BS1/BS2 views (dont want to sit building on sediment and you dont want to have to clear too much sediment out of the way to place foundations on bedrock).
- Lots of tall high-rise buildings, and more shorter ones and sprawling building complexes. Underground facilities (like outlying support sites) have alot of leeway.
- Predefine structural specifications for building wall thicknesses (concrete and Ryanium), window shapes and sizes, Utility hookups/mains, doorframes, ceiling heights, transportation profiles (ie- the shape of a trolley path/tram tubes, pressure seal doors), viaducts and tunnels. Many details that define how adjacent things can be placed.
Determine seafloor contours (general shape) :
- Starting point the Metro Maps for the ridges (map is VERY general and can be fudged quite alot - the central portion looks like a somewhat lower flat region where many of the tall builings are).
- Many game building interior locations are on ridge sides (rocks in foreground in window views and looking straight out at buildings you are 1/3-1/2 way up side - with really tall building still towering well above)
- Add the general locations of the major features (Mt Ryan to the north-ish) the dropoff of the Abyss (near Persephone) the Geothermal fields to southewest (near Hesphaestus).
- Foundations can be quite massive to flatten and raise basement (base) levels to a common 'street' level for city buildings.
- Some areas like around Arcadia have very large boulders/rocks the building are built upon.
- An example contour map --- http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/600/rapturebig.jpg
Determine the first points of reference :
- The Welcome Center is specificly positioned on the Metro Map (which has alot of the BS1 game known locations around it).
- Proximity of other known buildings/features clustered in that vicinity (Lighthouse position is very close and it should be located on Mt Ryan as its built on (probably piled) large rocks that break the surface).
- The other locations from the game maps for other 'known' locations (shown on Metro Map - Fort Frolic, Olymous Heights, etc...) The BS1 Metro Bathysphere map shows many of the other positions.
- Many of the outside window views were recycled (like same view out north facing windows as south facing), so they dont have to be too precisely used as positioning clues. Many of the window views also have pretty sealife and rocks piled outside even when you are inside a tall building (like the AE Deport), so likewise cannot be adhered to.
- Specify locations of all known Plazas and start planning others to fill out bulk of the City. Different city areas have themes - industrial, manufacturing, commercial, residential, etc.. The extents and 'organic' layout of the city would be created around these.
- Many logical locations would be added to fill in needed components of the city which were never seen or mentioned. (Example - "Port of Rapture" would be a logical interface to the Surface needed during the City's construction and it would be logical for 'Submarine Yards" to exist to maintain the City's submarine fleet. Major transportation links would likewise tie into these extrapolated locations.)
Minerva's Den location (example of fitting in an 'existing' city location) :
- Minerva's Den would be a likely starting point for Tenenbaum's return and a place to start organizing resources for what would become the new city. The DLC contains full detailed parts of the complex and it likely would be a 'game start' area.
- See Atlantic Express map in BS2 (spot North of Fontaine Futuristics on the other AE line) is a likely spot. That probably would be Minerva's Den, as there is a locked station at the building's entry and because it is the nearest point to Fontaine Futuristics.
- Is still isolated from the rest of Rapture - so is relatively secure and under control of 'New Rapture' (it has important resources and would not be abandoned).
- The new security Apparatus there (seen in the DLC) would be very useful for securing whatever new City Center location was chosen.
- An unusual device 'the Fish Whisperer' had been developed and used to lure fish to an automated capture unit which had helped feed the staff in Minervas Den for all those years (the staff werent fishermen).
City Grid pattern (the 'Street' system structure previously detailed) :
- General 'city-like' rectangular street pattern, but still can be irregular (Compass point orientation prefered)
- Street Level (the flat plane that most of the Streets in Rapture are on) would be a height matchup of positions of Landmark building (not too high off average seabed level - the 'Street' in may places is 1/3 way up many buildings)
- Secondary 'Street' routes can still exist (to handle many building sites built on ridges following a flat path).
- Use known Plazas and Squares as reference points of grid intersections (hubs). Their shape details are already largely known (with added adjacent parts filled in extending all those blocks/non-opening doors).
- Add additional Plazas and Squares where various Landmark buildings are (since they have to connect into the 'Street' system and other things like Metro/Atlantic Express)
- Locate the balance of all other Plaza/Square and their clusters of adjacent tall buildings (determine general shapes/footprints of those buildings). Their dimensions and floorplans would be defined and what connections they have to other structures (including the major 'street' paths between them).
- Fill in more buildings of appropriate mid-range size added in appropriate visual locations (clues from the window views)
- There can be many shorter buildings that weren't generally visible.
- Various 'scenic' ridges and other locations would contain smaller 'sprawl' building complexes.
- All these building's general sizes and shapes (and internal layout) would be predetermined and the required 'modular' floor templates that match those definitions would need to be created (to be used for 'pre-built assets and for the auto-generator to use later).
- Street paths/flavors would all be filled in to connect and connect the plazas/squares and to fit the contours (and define any new 'building blocks' required to make it fit together - shape and adjacent connections). Secondary paths would link/connect all the building concentrations.
- If all else fails the seafloor contours can be 'fudged' to make things place properly without adjusting too many other things.
- City Utilities largely follow the Street grid. Some main conduits run as independant structures spreading out from their primary sources (ie -Hesphaestus for power/heat/fresh water, Lighthouse for air system, Mt Ryan for garbage)
- Plan locations of industrial and manufacturing sites and other support communities OUTSIDE the City (I would put the total additional (original) population at another 20000 people out there to support the city economy.
Main transportation paths:
- The Metro and Atlantic Express maps show stylized routes independant of the Street patterns, so can be fudged a bit to match up with the map data being created. Atlantic Express we've seen is a partial map (actually only shows 1/8 of the whole system and is a edge section South of Arcadia) so whats not shown can be fitted as line extensions to the three shown as needed (figure the AE largely goes to all old Primary high traffic destinations).
- Place (in detail) the existing Metro/AE paths to connect the plazas/squares (we saw in BS1/BS2 and extrapolated others)
The AE is built on independant aquaduct-like support structures.
- Plan out the paths to cover ALL the rest of the Plazas/Squares :
--- - Atlantic Express goes to the main hubs (various Plazas/Squares and other major complexes which would have the appropriate stations as part of their makeup - the stations are a substantial building of themselves).
--- - The Atlantic Express routes are largely flat and run sufficiently below Street level to not collide with Street structures (built at basement level - was fundamental transport "oldest part of rapture" used a great deal in city construction) and goes around buildings.
--- - The Metro Bathysphere lines have ALOT more connections than the maps weve seen
--- - The MetroWays are more flexible and can go up and down as well as around corners.
--- - Austen Bathysphere Company was just one of the interconnecting systems and we now have alot more plazas/squares that need to be connected.
--- - The Street Trolleys go between most important points and go thru (continuous paths) the Plaza/Square structures.
--- - Not all 'Streets' have a Trolley line running thru them and there are numerous secondary Streets lined with shops and residences branching off the main Street network. It is preferable for long Streets to not be too far off the Seabed because the higher the 'Street' structure is the more massive (expensive) the Foundation pillars need to be to support them.
- Place all the other Metro and Atlantic Express stations/facilities (switching stations, railyards, repair facilities.
--- - Locate all the maintenance facilities for transit systems (we saw one (BS2) - the 'Atlantic Express Depot' that is big enough for the full AE system).
--- - At least one Trolley maintenance 'barn' should be near City Center so the trolley system can be running in New Rapture, and others are spread out evenly across the city.
- AE and tram lines heading out to connect to sites outside the city should be defined.
- Specify details for the modular assets (like AE track pylons and station entrances) needed to build up the actual connecting structures.
- Plan which of these transportation paths are damaged/destroyed.
Looser details :
- The Seabed surface map for around the City Map (maybe for 100 mile radius) - general Depths and Ecology seed data
--- - Large area for the 'undersea volcano' before the depths fall off to the 1000+ meter depths (prohibitive to human activities).
- Industrial/other sites outside main city areas are spread out (dont interfere/interact with each other much)
--- - Many are miles from the 'City'
--- - Transportation links to them (ie - tram tunnels, AE freight line) can be generalized.
--- - Large parts of industrial complexes would be located in tunnels/caverns when possible to save on costs
--- - Probably will be on the Leeward side of the volcanoes height to be protected from icebergs.
- Many generic smaller building and structures :
--- - Can be filled-in in detail later (usually their external appearance is seen first thru windows from a distance ).
--- - They can often be placed adjacent to existing buildings and connected by multiple viaducts (like some of the places we visited in BS1/BS2). Since they do have to link to existing buildings, those buildings would need the modular connections alreday specified in their structure and floor layouts (more closed/locked doorways....).
- Various clutter on the Seabed with leftovers from construction and misc other stuff/junk.
- Tall building interiors :
--- - Have to use standard floor layout/profiles/templates that WOULD be predefined to fit in the building's external definitions (the 'Seen from a distance' external details would mostly be pre-defined before game startup) .
--- - We have little detail for the interiors (from the solo games) so they can be auto-generated along logical patterns - with lots of potential variations in detail/content.
--- - Shops at Street level commercial above that and Residence levels above that.
--- - The state of destruction/ruin/wreckage would be predefined so the auto-generator will have parametrers for what it will build up.
- Mt Ryan just has to be a large mass of rock that goes up near surface (within 100 feet). Its solid rock is perfect for industrial sites and proximity to surface would have Seaweed Farms placed there (light penetration falls off fast with depth). The contours are not critical and can be 'fudged' to makefitting things easier.
- Additional Metroways (Bathysphere lines) can be added (including the stations) -- branching off the already defined ones (they are supposed to be like cabs or busses so have to go alot of places to be convienent). Some companies had private lines as did some rich elites with connections to their penthouses (ex- Ryans connection between his "Mansion" and Ryan’s Office)
New Rapture vs the 'ruined' rest (start setting up the repair state theses planned areas are all in) :
- Deciding on what constitutes 'New Rapture' (the already rebuilt areas) and state of the rest.
- For the initial game release 'start -up', the company would have to have set the data designating the states of various parts of the city (included in the 'seed' 'parameter' information/data for areas not yet fully resolved - left for later auto-generation).
- "New Rapture" is repaired/interlinked habitable locations (with alot of adjacent sections still abandoned/state of disrepair ).
- More than a few of Raptures buildings are Flooded -- some with severe irrepairable damage
- Street Level routes blocked (wreckage, non-functioning doors, flooding).
- Various tunnels/paths blocked/choked with debris and rubbish and some half flooded.
- Malfunctioning Pressure Seals (safety locked until repaired).
- Cavern/Tunnel collapses
- Building sections gutted by fires and lots of water damage.
- Utilities of various sorts no longer working/connected (heat gone means freezing/ice blockage)
- Viaducts broken/flooded/sealed off (themselves or what they connect to).
- Metro links many broken, cable systems damaged, no available Bathysphers, most working lines the automatic system is inoperable.
- Atlantic Express - many line structures damaged and 'rolling stock' damaged/destroyed (main maintenance facility may NOT be accessible/controlled yet).
- Various locations trashed, choked with garbage and haphazard products of splicer habitation.
- Industrial/manufacturing/storage sites shut down and in state of decay, filled with toxics.
- Old transit routes that are operable dont always go anyplace currenly inhabitted/civilized.
- Many transportation paths are deactivated and their access locked because they go to 'wild' areas (Constables have secured the access to prevent Splicers using them).
- Splicer faction control areas.
'One-Of' projects at game start (setup initially in world data) :
- Some of the preexisting BS1/BS2 areas should not be immediately (or easily) accessible to Players and should require some 'civic effort' to open it to access. That would be something like a Viaduct repair or getting a Metro line to operate through Player efforts -- something not to hard or take too long but an actual achievement changing the game world (demonstrating this isnt yet another 'Everything resets after the Boat goes by' Disneyland ride MMORPG)
- Some of the more distant 'known' areas are still in pretty bad shape (and thus available for city rebuilding projects and for adjacent areas to be developed by Players).
- Big City projects are underway - repairing an important Atlantic Express line segment to reach another chunk of New Rapture to improve the transportation convienence (has higher capacity than Metro).
- Activity with ~ 2000 existing NPCs doing work (and jobs available to Player) fixing up adjacent buildings to City Center (everything there is to be a 'show city' to remind people what Rapture looked like and could all again).
- NPCs will be customers for players commercial ventures. Most consumer goods are not much above subsistance and teher is alot of potential to expand into more advanced/fancy goods and services.
- The (starting) Residential situation in New Rapture should be getting fairly cramped waiting for a new wave of Entrepreneurs (the Players) to start developing new and better accomodations. Ditto for shops and other consumer service activities.
- The 'Clinic' is in operation bringing in more new 'Citizens' - both NPCs and players.
- Quests/Missions utilizing preexisting locations and institutions.
- Adjacent 'ruined areas' immediately accessible to players.
- Being fully detailed, the pre-existing terrain can be used for 'real world' testing of game mechanics and how the many modular components integrate and interoperate (NPC behavior and Quest mechanisms being amongst the more complicated).
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How to keep a game running continually (where the Players eat/grab the resources/territory that wont ever respawn??) :
- Rapture IS a large place and expansion wont be too fast (expansions have to be built and arent just 'bought').
--- - Players have to dig their way thru many ruined areas (cant just traipse thru where they want)
--- - Closed off areas even near the City Center can be opened later (once Inspectors clear as 'safe')
--- - Generic buildings can be 'zoned' for development that were blocked previously (city council sets priorities)
--- - The Foundation tunnels can be endless. Ditto for tunnels and caverns under the city (why would you build fancy/EXPENSIVE windows/structures for a warehouse??).
--- - Alot of reserved unseen 'slop' areas at the edge of the defined city (small buildings) can be later auto-generated in detail as expansion (city records were burned so noone has really seen the full map)
--- - Obstacles stand in the way of Players 'going anywhere they want' preventing immediate auto-generation (realizing full details) - takes time for accumulative player activity to beat their ways into many parts of the City.
- City expansion in small chunks -- alot of repairs needed to make 'civilized' (and would be built generally adjacent to whats already built due to security/support/convienence/zoning issues).
- There are plenty of resources/project space for the number of Players on each Server, but exploiting them isnt 'fast' (New Rapture has little more than a Barter Economy). Players wont just 'snap their fingers' and rebuild a building "good as new".
- There can always be "Splicers hiding in the woodwork" even in the City Center to keep things jumping
- Outside the city is alot of space for missions to the boonies/ruins/support communities/secret sites/etc..
- There is no real limit to the number of Splicers (and being harder to kill/capture/fight you wont be killing half the Splicer population by yourself like you did in BS1/BS2). Many get away and you can run into them again.
- Random 'crisis' that will cause setbacks. Events even in the City Center to keep things interesting.
- The Prestige system and Civic Achievemenst and Team/Company mechanisms give the players lots to do/develope.
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Very important detail -- Where is The New Rapture City Center ???? :
- This will determine what parts of the city are initially fully accessible and 'normal' when Players actually start playing the game (including its surrounding 'Downtown', 'Border' and 'Edge' and adjacent 'Wild' areas).
- It would be nice to have an appreciable amount of certain familiar game locations to be included (especially since they are existing 'known' BS1/BS2/DLC game Assets that will be represented 'verbatum'. They represent alot of starter terrain which can be utilized with less effort ($$$$).
- A location with substantial resources to sustain the city :
--- - Food - beyond utilities (that seem to still work alot of places). This would likely be one of the semi-automated fisheries that had continued to operate (and were kept in repair by Maintenance Daddies). This would also mean control of that location had to be fought over with other factions, who likewise would want to control such an important resource (and still want it back too).
--- - Should not be too far from the source of most of the enviromental life-support (Hesphaetus complex). Should be on the City Utility Mains directly -- so enemies cannot easily disable them.
--- - Submarine Dock... Important to transport alot of materials from the old Minerva's Den base.
--- - Adjacent Streets (with working trolleys) leading to additional buildings (another plaza/square and some Street-side residential blocks). Adjacent areas would be 'The Downtown' regardless of direction.
--- - Metro Access to adjacent areas, if possible also a working Atlantic Expresss station and connection -- if there is anywhere to actually link to (eventually there will be).
- The "City Center" would be a Plaza with a sufficient cluster of buildings attached (including some high-rises).
- Possibly near one of the old research establishments - Tenenbaum would need equipment/facilities to improve the "Cure" process.
- A Park (or two) would eventually be built to show that THIS is different than Splicer barbarism.
- Nice to have access to several of the 'known' BS1/BS2 sites (many not 'repaired much) so that Players can go look at them.
Likely there will be Disjoint sections of New Repture, with some 'Border' territory being little more than a perimeter around a Metro station (and the MetroWay crossed 1/4 of the City).
By the time the players are in the Active 'started' GameWorld, there is a 'City' population of 2000 NPCs (and all the Players) crammed into a fairly small area (before the Player led expansion starts to take-off). !!!! 2000 NPCs - when did you ever see a MMORPG with a 'town'/'city' that EVER had any more inhabitants than a small village .with half the people already dead of the plague, and the remainders just standing around like mannequins ??? New Rapture would be a REAL city and give you a glimpse of what Rapture must've looked like back when it had 20000 (or 40000).