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More interesting items/ideas for a Bioshock Rapture MMORPG
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Learning how to use your Plasmid - a Flashback episode :
Old Rapture - SO you inject this stuff into your body thru a needle the size of one used for knitting, and there is some weird visions as they start to take effect. Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a genetic upgrade. But how do you make it work?? If you have other upgrades, how is this one different?? How do you activate it went you want to? (and more important NOT activate it when you DONT want to?). So Plasmids often came with instructions and the ADAM/Plasmid companies and independant services offered 'use' training. I can see a varying staged scene, when you are entering such a training session, of an NPC running past you on fire or a person half imbedded in a wall with 'doctors' poking it to see if its still alive. That followed by interactive training on targets or somesuch in a 'safe' environment (similar to many games tutorials).
The current MMORPG's game design has Player's avatars no longer being Splicers, but Players could be given numerous opportunities to re-live using Plasmids in (hopefully amusing) Flashback episodes and Roleplayings of the various other denziens of Rapture (you WOULD want to see what being a Spider Splicer was like ?).
Business for Sale :
Opportunity for Player to invest in a already existing business, without having to go thru process of setting it up.
Unfortunately there is probably a reason for it being sold (like not being profitable). Still there may be opportunity to 'fix' it. Sometimes the assets of such a business are desired to get a 'good spot', to then mutate the business.
Franchise operation swould probably be likely. Alot of the supply end details of the business is handle for you (with a big chunk of the profits...)
Business mechanism would have players NPC lackey work the business (tedious stuff standing there all day). Whole system of improvements/upgrades for players who like that game aspect (they can run on automatic - after all that what all the NPC businesses do already, at a mediocre level - but the more the player puts into it the more they will get out and achieve).
Interesting question - Are 'friendly' Splicers allowed to freely walk the streets of New Rapture :
- Probably not - a hazard and temptation for Citizens
- Splicers are always an unknown quantity and how would YOU like it if your Hotdog-Stand business was burned down by a 'seemingly rational' friendly Splicer who went berserk ?
- Opens missions for escorting a few 'frendly Splicers who might be being shown the advantages of being "Cured" or to impress them to continue being 'friendly'.
Almost as soon as there were computers, there was Computer Hacking :
Computer related Systems that reach all over Rapture accessible for everyday use (to those willing to pay)
- Phone Systems (control/monitor maintenance)
- Pneumo (coordinating beyond simple load leveling solutions)
- Sensors (environmental/hazard monitoring)
- Security (coordination)
- Data Computing (remote access to 'big' computers for business use/research)
- Traffic Control (traffic routing (Metro/AE) beyond default solutions)
Some Player activities (and missions) will deal with old computer systems still operating (out in ruins) :
- Finding the old system to grab some needed information/data, or salvaging it.
- Prefereable NOT any "Rapture is going to Blowup/Self-Destruct in 5 minutes, if you dont stop the insane computer.." scenarios.
- Evil AI - not so easy to create and definitely to self-create (so wont be seeing too many scenarios like that, either)
- Hacking security/info systems (computer controlled) of the larger, more organized factions as a Spy for New Rapture (it has been ~10 years since 'the chaos' started and with Brain Boost, who knows what some of those Splicers came up with)
- Investigating odd computer use in New Rapture (by criminals for example)
- Tracking a Hacker who is doing something bad (stealing stuff, etc...) by hacking everyday systems
- Secret missions for "the Five" (New Rapture's Secret Guardians) to find a Splicer out to destroy New Rapture via its computers.
- Steal that stack of computer punch cards and zap that Faction's computer (who dont know how to program or make new ones anymore...) - some Splicers might somewhere worship computer like a god (insanity... but then SPlicers have alot of time on their hands) -- Classic plot of the human behind the machine 'god'....
'Retro' Look to Mini-Games :
Most of the games for these handhelds look like games from 20+ years ago (interface/processing/display limitations)
Would have Mini-Game Kit to facilitate creating games, and another even simpler level to assist the EASY creation of scenarios within existing games - many players cannot do the nuts-and-bolts part of the project programming, but can do the imagination part -- need to tap into them (even if 90% are garbage, the other passable 10% from so many players will add up).
Back to 2D sprites (though 3D models can be used to create 'canned sprites', often easier than hand drawing.)
Screens are so tiny that alot of fine detail is irrelevant, or to fit enough terrain on the screen things have to have a more symbolic (instantly recognizable) representation. Personally I hate excessive scrolling in game interfaces and having more simpler object on screen is prefered to a smaller view (especially when picture-perfect represention becomes irrelevant after you see the thing the third time).
3D will still exist, but be simpler than common PC games (throwback to 'Doom-esque' 3D graphics...). Definetly fewer/simpler 3D objects can only be rendered in realtime (hardware is getting better, fortunately).
Its still alot to work with, and many fine games can work under the limitations
Myth about 'The Thinker and Cental Computing :
Transcript: "We make it all run. The brains in those bots and cameras? That's us. Automatic bathysphere navigation, calculating genetic probabilities for new Plasmids, hell, regulatin' water pressure so this place ain't a fish tank. It's all Rapture Central Computing. Not that we get the recognition. Funny thing about livin' in the city of tomorrow, everybody takes it for granted."
Consider its a Splicer talking or someone believing their own companies hype/advertisements.... It really cannot work that way for real (or in any practical sense).
Not quite as 'remote' controlled as it sounds. Most of these solutions/uses are the domain of simpler local devices doing their specific tasks, instead of some huge 'Central' unit. 'Central' would impractically require data wires running the miles for each controlled thing to 'Central' (issue is simply cost/practicality). AND such a 'Central would be a single failure point which would lead everything (Rapture) to collapse if even something minor went wrong.
Monitoring and dispatching for repairs, traffic control are more likely. Certain (optional) 'value added' solutions (like load-leveling to improve efficiency) would be a proper use. NOT auto-opening every door for you.
THESE are a bit more accurate :
"Rapture depends on The Thinker every day! Dispatching trains to commuters, making assembly lines more efficient, and keeping the air fresh!" - Advertisement
"Mr. Ryan hired me to build a computer that could keep an entire city running on time- the Rapture Operational Data Interpreter Network. Folks call it 'The Thinker' for short." - C.M. Porter
Slots with no 'Jack'pot :
Tonic/Plasmid 'slots' (you purchase with ADAM as a seperate item) - the game mechanism emulated a genetic Stablization mechanism added by Ryan's further ADAM development (productized post-Fontaine-takeover, with research in progress long before by Ryan's order at his Labs -- Fontaine didnt care as it would eat into the profits). Ryan did not want his 'army' to be insane or further degeneration of Rapture's population by the unstoppable ADAM use (his plans to rebuild after the 'Civil War'). It is likely it could be retrofitted on existing Splicers to lessen their degeneration (and need for ever more ADAM).
The 'slots' were a way of compartmentalizing the genetic changes made by multiple Tonics and Plasmids so they would not disrupt each other (genetic turbulance) or degrade as fast (practical because it then required less ADAM to be used). Deployment incorporated these 'slot' items into the Cities Gatherers Garden machines before BS1 and since the improvement was obvious they were adopted readily by the Splicers.
After his 'death' the possible next phase of a 'Cure' was delayed by the longer disruption of the Faction Wars when the priority was simply trying to keep Rapture alive.
Proposal (after high casualty rate of Little Sisters) - Giant Misquitoes :
Project didnt really go anywhere, as the bigger they got, the worse they were at flying and eventually just walked around. After a re-proposal of Giant Bloodsucking Cockroaches, further proposals along these lines were dropped/ignored.
You still might find some of the products of this (and other odd) research wandering around parts of Rapture ( but maybe not many, as cockroaches may be 'tasty' to insane Splicers).
Alternate Realities (what might have been) :
As Jack, part of the way thru the BS1 game, you were spliced-up/equipt enough to take on the multitudes of Splicers. You could have made yourself the Boss in those places and never been goaded on to Kill Ryan (after you smashed the radio ater getting sick of hearing Atlas's whiney voice). You could have made a very nice living there in that corner of Rapture while Ryan finally cornered and eliminated Atlas/Fontaine and then started to rebuild his City.
The proposed MMORPG game mechanism could support running World reality 'bubbles' like that scenario. Alot of the game processing runs in your Client anyway (possibly including NPC AI, etc..), but now improved with more details and interactive objects, and no longer those one dimensional (kill kill kill) NPCs to deal with. The largely static 'Levels' could be 'baked' to limit Server processing a great deal.
Come to think of it, with the MMORPG having all the Assets recycled from BS1/BS2/Minerva's Den, you could using the same method, replay all the way thru those SOLO games in an ***Enhanced*** experience -- as a side activity Super-Flashback. Because such could be produced early/initially for the MMORPGs game startup, it would serve as something to keep Players going while alot of other expansion content is still being produced/perfected by the Players Asset Creation Community. (.....thinking about it, it could be used as part of the Beta testing of the Player Produced Assets and basic game mechanics.)
Hmm, cooperative play ?? Small group (local) campaign 'Server'...
The Achievement of making yourself the Boss in each of the Solo levels (Jack). Watch out, the Splicers are trickier than they were....
A Campaign of Delta 'conquering' each of the levels before you reach Lamb and then after wiping out/subjugating most of her minions, simply taking over ("Hey Eleanor - now we can do things properly here", "Heres a Sub, have fun on the Surface" ...). Campaign would have you have various 'control' goals' and sub-missions to consolidate your infrastructure and resources for your 'takeover' (with some simple strategy game (RTS) elements that have you moving symbolic units on the Rapture map to counter/surround/eliminate Lambs forces/territory - and YOU (the walking tank) show up fo the 'hard' situation).
Hmm, sounds like a Mod variant THEY might actually be able to do (WELL short of the MMORPG project).
Creation Community - Idiot/Willful-Tard Supression :
In any community you will have problematic people who will try to destroy the work of others for some reason (someone's idea is shot down and they begin a 'holy war' against the entire system). So the system needs to be able to easily and efficiently handle measures against that, while at the same time NOT being overbearing/tedious to the majorityt (processes which the non-problematic people will have to adhere to).
If you have played with a WIKI or a Code Repository system, they are set up so that NO submitted information is EVER lost, and they facilitate ways of undoing/reverting changes (in this case destructive changes).
The MMORPG's Project would have a huge amount of data - not just the Assets themselves, but all the documentation that defines the Bioshock universe (possible to very fine detail) and the commentaries/critiques used to decide on additions/modifications/clarifications and proposed/in-progress projects. It all should be not just easily accessible/reference/search, but also to modified/corrected/appended to processes and published all of it.
Control of access to many functions (submissions, commenting, ratings, reviews, actual modification/corrections, changing access permissions, extending permission to individual/groups, etc...) is needed and for many subsets of data -- like a single Asset project (that spiffy new 'chair') or one Canon article specifyingdefining a game (Rapture) personality/history.
Certain 'trusted' people would have to be delegated privileges to control such things, with the highest(ultimate) level being company employees who (per the business model) need to have minimal interactions with the whole system.
Even so, people can work around the coutre-measures, and its imperative that any damage done is reversable/limited.
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Missed the Boat (Train) :
It would have been interesting in BS2 with its 'train' passage theme to have a Trainload of Splicer 'reinforcements' sent by Sofia Lamb show up in one of the Train Stations (possibly with some pre-warning for Delta so that he could set up a defensive position). Having your traincar suddenly 'take off' on you to make space in the Station for the incoming Train and a horde of heavily armed Splicers emerging to 'terminate' you. Was there some limitation in the game engine or just a lack of imagination for such an obvious scene for the game ?? The only moving vehicles were in pre-scripted cutscenes.
"The sea slugs gained the ability to generate ADAM from a large, glowing biomass." :
Doesnt exactly specify how this came to be. Logically, the Stem Cell mechanism could be an evolved type of self-repair which exists in the real world for some sealife (and some land-dwellers like frogs that can slowly regenerate limbs).
Why it should repair YOU if it bites you is a seperate issue - perhaps for the intended sea-life targets of the 'bite', it acts as a poison, disrupting/killing the prey/predator. It may be a rare side-effect which Tenenbaum spotted (which took alot of work to make useful). The ADAM component isnt actually T-Cells, but a chemical that stimulates/facilitates rapid T-Cell production/conversion, which is then guided by some human genetic material to actuate the Plasmids/Tonics specific changes (structural changes to the body).
The Zebo and Rooty Hour :
A dramatic TV show where Zebo and Rooty did the introduction ala Hitchcock. Originally a comic and magic act, they came to Rapture after having been 'red balled' in the US for making cutting jokes about leftist politics (FDR, New Deal, kidgloving of Soviet threat, etc) and the degenerating 'culture' in the US in the late 40s. Later were murdered by thugs paid by Lamb, when they began to suggest in their show what she was up to. (Google 'Rebo and Zooty')
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Game Design Issue - How to keep certain things from being 'too easy' so Players avoid harder things :
If one avenue of generating money/material/skills is too easy, how do you prevent Players from grinding it and never seeing alot of the game which is 'harder' (or different) ??
- Same missions not repeatable - make Players have to go someplace new to largely avoid the too-easy 'well beaten path'.
- Resource Exhaustion - Player cannot endlessly go back to same 'easy spot'. (Though going to a new resource spot shouldnt become overly hazardous). Resource renewal patterns should not usually be predicatable ("I'll just wait til tommorrow for the trees to grow back" ....)
- Customers (supply and demand) - over-abundance of 'easy' to obtain materials floods market and drives price way down.
- Many kinds/combinations of materials required, so many different places to go to get various ones (and different activities to obtain them).
- Spawn shifting (similar to Resource Exhaustion) where situation at locations can change (preferably as result of Player action - Splicers dont like YOU poaching all THEIR resources, and will do something about it).
- Randomness of 'loot' so no easy pattern of targets (prevents Player ignoring all else and endlessly targetting the 'right' one and then scooting before things get complicated).
- Random Encounters - things can happen differently when on-the-way to that 'same' place (hopefully interesting, newness making the Player think, instead of endless 'safe' bean-counter-type routine.)
- Skill building - experience limits and difficulty ramps for particular things (you cannot get to ** Guild Master Alchemist ** by boiling water 1 million times). Advancement requires proper Context (ie- have to use skill against real targets, not grinding action is a dry safe well-lighted place - as they say 'its very different when the target shoots back').
- Changing incentives/goals to make doing that 'too easy' thing unprofitable and other things more profitable.
- Make the Avatar advancement system non-obvious/non-simplistic (no class levels and XP) to make it harder to find the 'grind'.
- Tools wear out - 'grind' not so simple/repetitive now.
- Player getting 'better stuff' or high skill does not turn you into a 'god' (so not making things 'wave your hand' easy).
- Likewise, simple 'easy' actions/situations can have unexpected results and precipitate unusual/interesting situations. (ie- Splicers figure out Player ALWAYs goes to same harvest spot, and lay a little ambush....)
Conversely, things that are 'too hard' get avoided :
- More partial results, so Players can 'wing it' and not have to 'resurrect from death over and over' (or always runaway from artificially unhandleable hazards)
- Free Market makes things "noone else bothers to recover" much more valuable - shortages drive up prices.
- Quest/Missions offered eventually thins down to 'ones not previously done' and/or are gateways to more opportunities making them 'worth doing'.
- Avoid Player Level specific content. I found rediculous/contrived the MMORPGs with 'Sorry you are too low to enter here', or 'You dont have that Quest', or Dying Instantly if you try to interact with something WAY over your level. In this MMORPG there are no Player levels and success is less dependant on Avatars attributes than Player skills and know-how (and some luck).
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When you 'Rescue' Little Sisters, how exactly do they give you that (80) ADAM ? :
When you "Harvest" them, you physically tear the SeaSlug out of them and extract the ADAM (somehow) from that.
When you "Rescue" them, the SeaSlug is allegedly left inside them, so how is the ADAM delivered to you?
Image of coughing up something like a cat with a hairball... hmmmm. (just like how they 'hand in' their ADAM when they 'return to base' thru the vents.) Maybe its best not to know....
Lazy Citizens - Players who dont do much :
Should have freedom to do that - should not be forced into the usual 'narrow path' many games have (but also offer more than a 'fancy chatroom').
There is minimal 'City Work' ("Those who dont work dont eat" - John Smith) which Players can do just to stay alive ('Fish for Dinner again, and sleeping in the New Citizen barracks' and wearing your 'outpatient' duds). Players could even have their minimal work run 'on automatic' while they are Offline, so as not to impede their (more interesting) Online activities.
There would be plenty of things to see and do (to play tourist), and some Players may like that as a way to orient themselves and get used to how things in the game's World work (at least in the safe areas) before going off to do more involved/complicated/risky activities.
With a Player Created Asset feature, some 'Players' may hardly play in the Game World at all and have more fun using the tools to create stuff for the game.
Player who 'act out' or try to be disruptive will be handled by game mechanisms that cause proper (real-world-like) countermeasures/reactions/repercussions (ie - Player decides to strike an NPC without reason gets hustled off to jail by Constables to experience 'jail activities' and possibly a trip back to 'The Clinic' to correct their 'maladjustment'.)
If a player stops playing for a while their NPC Team underlings/employees keep doing things. Particularly the public aspect like a business, which could shift to simple mediocre cash-in = cash-out mode (it would squander the player bank account or non-business assets). The others will be on maintenance mode doing mostly uninteresting things while sustaining the Player's possessions in a more dynamic World.
Bags of Manure (lots of them) in Arcadia :
Means presence of farm animals somewhere in Rapture to produce it (hardly something to smuggle in). Meat prices likely would be elevated enough to justify smuggled-in quality meat from the Surface (though how fresh would that have been after a week in a freighter ??) Meat is still worthwhile to produce (people get sick of fish). But then Rapture also had low end markets - thus that Beef-E artifical meat (how good did soybeans grow in Rapture)??.
I myself would have had a seperate 'soil making' area for Arcadia, instead of dumping all that fertilizer directly into the Park's plants (and into its confined airspace). Perhaps Arcadia might have had twice as many customers if they had someone who knew what they were doing in charge. (Maybe horticulturist and level designer skills just dont overlap that much).
Bags of Manure as Money (joke from Woody Allen's movie Banana's)
NPC Crowd AI :
One of the things you would see (rarely presented in current MMORPG and usually only by cutscenes or heavily scripted/choreographed scenes in Solo games) would be crowds of NPCs going about their own normal tasks (in the City Center in New Rapture) which gives you a better feeling of what Rapture was like in its heyday.
In real life people operate largely on a daily schedule. They move from location to location along preestablished paths and then mostly do boring stuff out of sight. Some do things where you can see them. Simple interactions still handle routine semi-random interactions (like NPCs walking in opposite direction avoiding each other or having to wait in a line). Lots of scripting for variety, but not horrendous in the Server processing needed.
Most NPCs you generally dont interact with. If you do, then their AI shifts to more specific reactive mode and they do something usually boring, leading you to later leave them alone.
Events can happen which interrupt the routine, with most NPCs doing fairly simple contingencies (like running away when a fireball spurting Splicer crawls out of a sewer grate). More complex AI then is processed to handle the situation (which one hopes YOU can/will act the hero and help resolve).
Out in 'the Wilds', very little will be 'routine'. Big crowds of highly active AI-run NPCs wont be too common.
"I begged Mr. Ryan to hand Fontaine Futuristics over to Atlas's boys" - McDonagh
Why to Atlas's boys ?? They had no claim on it . Is handing property to some other people supposedly better than a government seizure/takeover (and as mentioned elsewhere adjusting things after the emergency is over...)?
Also isnt this handing weapons to the enemy (a bribe to make them 'act nice' ?)?? The same terrorists who murder citizens and are trying to destroy the city?? How well did the Developers think about some of these game story assets they created ? A mistake? Rather they meant 'Fontaines boys' ? (If he had any. He doesnt strike me as someone to share power or have a strong second-in-command who might 'off' him and take over).
How about close it down as a public health hazard? Nah. - instead shoveling on the "Ryan is bad" stuff (complaining about strong actions taken during a war?? Clueless about the realities of what a real 'war' situation like that is?....). They never seem to have Ryan doing much being explained as actually being logical (and the way things happen in the real world), not even allow Ryan some obvious solutions.
But - "The Plot says so."
Obviously contrived circumstances arent found in 'great' storytelling.
Exploring - and the small hidden spaces :
Ive always found it interesting to explore the worlds in various games, especially where the creator's imagination was accomodated. There were more than average hidey-holes/nooks-and-crannies/secret-passages in the Rapture game levels. They often contained many strange little vignettes. The MMORPG should continue in this vein, except even more-so. Because of the 'create-on-the-fly' mechanism, where locations can be procedurally scripted and custom-built when needed, and NPCs by design change/mutate those locations to match their needs, such interesting little spaces could be everywhere and quite varied (and make sense/fit to the local area/situation). Using multitudes of interchangeable details and props/inhabitants substitutions and harmonized more than a little (Splicers preferences shape thee places they inhabit/visit), these 'vignettes' can be near unique and appear more 'organic'. Players actions can change these places as well and persist to be seen later.
Hercule Poirot comes to Rapture :
Its been mentioned before, the MMORPGs Build-on-the-Fly game engine combined with a comprehensive Player Created Asset
system, could/would be used to make games of any genre (the game mechanics would be as systematically modular as the rest of it). A sufficient mass of effort (company and moreso players) to do so, plus alot of talent and imagination could result many niche games. Rapture's setting is broad enough to offer a basic structure to build up from (saving alot of effort reusing its mechanisms/plots/scripts/details) for a project by a group with a special interest -- ex- Hercule Poirot (the art deco detective) mystery scenario set in Golden Age Rapture concentrating on the mystery plot and less on the fact you are on the side of a underwater volcano in the North Atlantic. It is choreographed with clues you watch/inspect and you answer in the end who you think was the murderer....
Some main-plot scenarios mentioned previously dealt with some surface doings related to Rapture --- the meeting room of Ryan's still-existing surface organization, for example, or a Player's submarine type mission making a rendevous with a freight bringing critial materials from the Surface world (with plot undercurrent of someone pulling strings up there to make that happen).
Whole sub-plot storylines can be created by those interested, using the tools this game would have, making it possible to happen in the game world.
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