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More interesting items/ideas for a Bioshock Rapture MMORPG
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How to Build Rapture :
You are building something under the Sea where the outside water pressure is something around 280 lb per square inch (20 times the air pressure on you right now). You are constructing a building structure that is meant to hold out all that pressure. It will be constructed in place at that depth from prefabricated sections, linked together, imbedded/anchored to the seafloor, sealed, pumped dry and then thoroughly tested before anyone is allowed to occupy it (before you build the interior and get it ready for human habitation).
You make small sections that can be sealed independantly. All of Rapture should be built that way to minimize the destruction by any single failure. It also makes it simpler to find and repair initial and subsequent leaks (pressure integrity failure).
Some special pre-fab sections can be pre-manufactured/tested/proved - self-contained airlocks which can be trusted. Door mechanism likewise can be modularized and be ready to install with some confidence of their reliability. (the door mechanisms have to all work immersed completely in water). Airlocks will be required to allow personel and equipment inside the flooded section to do the work of emptying them of water, and that work will all have to be done in high pressure diving suits.
Pumping operations mean there will be imbedded pipes prebuilt into the building sections. They can later be used for utilities, but are nededed first for the initial installation. Valves of various sorts would be integrated with all the pipes to fullfil the required operations (and any later ones). Air at slightly higher than Sea pressure will be fed in to force water from the section volume. Stopcocks will be open at the bottom allowing water to flow out quickly and they will eventually be sealed off permanently. Pumps will vacate the last of the water from the lower part of the sealed compartment (these sections are all designed to 'drain' natuarally). The interiors are usually cleaned out of debris and saltwater remnants at this point.
The initial pressure sealing process should have been sufficiently redundant to disallow failure at this point (a project should not be delayed by failures that could have been prevented), as well as for decades afterwards. But nothing is perfect and defects are always to be expected and planned for.
How do you find a leak while you are pumping out the section? If it is a large leak you will not be able to vacate water below the point of the leak. Small leaks can be found by letting off the feed-in air pressure, pumping air out to lower the pressure and the water will flow in visibly at the failure point(s).
Fixing the leaks is not aways straight forward. Because of the thickness of the structural walls the path of the leak through the structure materials is not always apparent. Inspecting the outside wall when a leak is in progress will locate the exit points of the leak. The leak should be fixed from both the inside and the outside to maximize the repair confidence. The cause of the defect should be found so that future material and processes can be amended to prevent future problems. (Rapture would have gone thru a evolution in building methods, eliminating bad practices/problematic material, and substituting improvements (for Ryan this also would bring cost effectiveness, because fixing things "after the fact" usually is far more expensive the correcting/preventing the problem ahead of time).
The Wales Brothers architects apparently did not make enough allowances for potential defects and got a bad reputation for leaky building which lost them customers/clients to the point of bankruptcy. Grand designs are pointless if you drown while trying to appreciate them.
Special materials for sealing leaks were previously developed for the undersea structures built by Ryan Industry's Oil and Mining divisions (offshore platforms and such). High strength epoxies can be drawn far into cracks to seal them. Cement/reinforced concrete can be reworked and patched. Extremely bad defects can have the modular section completely removed and replaced (before real permanency).
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When you find information out in the Ruins (or stuff already brought into the City Library) you dont instantly know what it is about (or more importantly, how much it is worth or how usefull it might be). It might need decoding. Not quite the same as if it was written with a cypher, but with all the specialized techno-jargon and shorthand, to anyone not immersed in whatever field it is related to, it might as well be Klingon.
SO the decoding is actually doing research (or having it done for you) to try to translate and discover what the informantion is about. The in-game process wont be 'real' and untranslated information will have a gibberish font and fake text to cover its secrets. Parts of that will start appearing and even then will just summarize what the information entails instead of exact/tedious 'real' details of some possibly fictional technology.
As mentioned elsewhere, pieces of information may not add up immediately, but as more is collected (clues given to where to get more - likely just more from the original source location).
So research skills will be valuable to at least a moderate level (A Team NPC 'egghead'/'bookworm' likely to be employed and train down that specialization path). Hiring experts (prefereably with boilerplate non-disclosure clause) can also be done, or just turning it over to the Library for CASH (and skipping the rest of the effort/involvement yourself).
Information can lead to technical abilities, clues for Missions to interesting places (where more valuable goodies might be found) and fill gaps in Rapture's history.
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Bioshock Rapture MMORPG as a "Game of the Future" - idea of incoporating 3D Printing :
No doubt there will be games with 'swag' created using 3D Printing done by the Players on the (by that time) common 3D home printer or the more deluxe models at the Supermarket/Mall. 'Rewards' for in-game Achievements printed as exclusives (one copy made by the printer machine with software to prevent the data being copied and used repeatedly/transfered unauthorized on the internet). (Interesting idea is customization - at minimum having the players name etc.. appended onto the basic design).
Anyway, a 'gimmick' of the MMORPG with all its Player Created Assets would be free generation of these objects by the Players. Given 5 years to create this MMORPG (using a greatly more competant development staff for the much more monumental game/tool Project) -- that would be the timeframe I would predict you will be seeing 3D Printing/Printers becoming a hot consumer item. By that time, the machines will be cheaper, more capable, more precise and much faster, and the coloring/finishing which now is often quite pastelish/grainy will significantly improve.
SO get ready for Brute Splicers (in a pose you chose) and Security-bot Christmas ornaments and a recreation of your neat Art Deco NPC 'Team Base' on your display shelf in 3D (3D computer screen saver ... I think I mentioned that idea elsewhere). I can think of all kinds of weird recreations as Achievemnet Awards and momentos - a whole universe of such game related goodies. 4 Big Daddies sitting around a table playing Poker .... hmmmm.
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Golden Age TV in Rapture :
There would be TVs all over Rapture (we saw them commonly in public places and private residences) paralleling consumer mass adoption on the Surface (in the First World, and Rapture on average was far more affluent). To fill those TVs with content (and with sponsors) the Stations might be more willing to push the boundries and experiment with things the Surface would lag implementing. Lack of Censorship would bring things faster which took decades up above to become common. Technology advancements also might have enabled advances (portable cameras, cheaper broadcast equipment, remote transmitting, color TV).
One problem with TV over most previous media (besides Radio) was the constant need for new content. Stage shows and movies had to be shown repeatedly to saturate the much larger Surface audiences. Entertainment groups would even then stay for only short time, then move on reusing/refining the same material in different cities on a circuit. Where TV largely would have unique material broadcast once and seen by a majority. So the writers had to constantly write/create to keep up, which often led to standards dropping. There would certainly be a supply of hack writers to fill the demand.
Artists in Rapture would be second rate or worse, for who else would leave the Surface to work in such a small venue (20000-40000 people - a rather limited audience). Few successful achieving artists would do that. Yes, there would be some 'End of the Worlders' or aging artists who might more have retirement in mind. More that a few might be following their patrons (their meal ticket). In the World at the time Rapture was taking immigrants, certainly in 'The West', there WAS alot of artistic freedom (if not monetary compensation) allowing for artists to produce all kinds of 'edgy' stuff (though social sensitivities might curtail display in public places). Those from places like Eastern Bloc would simply go to the West if they could escape and not to the bottom of the Ocean.
News shows, Talk shows, Dramas, Soap Operas, Childrens shows, SitComs, Movies, Live Performances, Infomercials, Reality TV, Educational/Adventure shows, all would likely be developed to fill the airtime.
You can bet Ryan Dollars to cigarette butts that there would be Commercials.
SmartPhone/Tablet interface - no time driven activities - dont want people playing while driving :
This interface for the game will have alot of activities for people who dont have huge amounts of time to play the Full-3D mode at home on a PC/Console. World Media presentation updates (newzspapers, TV, Radio stuff), in-game messages, Auction-house, Mini-games, Fabrication(crafting), Skill Training, etc... The NPC Team Task system would allow monitoring and queuing up parallel and sequential Tasks (for the Players Avatar and AI-driven 'Team' NPCs) which will get work done while the Player is off-line (the World Server AI runs them). Rebuilding Rapture is tedious work and Players often much prefer to go out adventuring and doing missions during their online-time.
Various status reports and directives issued in the simplified interfaces can allow the Player to keep their game progressing forward, utilizing time while 'on the go'. There wont be any 'Jump'/'Gate'/Teleport transportation so 'Team' NPCs (and the Players Avatar) can move ahead of time to a jumping off point for real-time play in the more interesting places (meaning Players will have to do some 'planning ahead', though if you forget your favorite flashlight you can have someone 'back at base' Pneumo it to you...)
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Sinclair Presents Playhouse 8 (on channel 8)
TV Show with drama performances and of course this was the age of 'live dancing cigarettes' on TV shows.
Sinclair would know the advantages of proper advertising and having some compelling content to draw viewers for his commercials. TV could be done on a decent budget to reach many potential customers.
Path of the Fury :
An interesting part of a Quest might be retracing the path of destruction left by Delta 2 years earlier (and maybe Jack from 10 years earlier) through those parts of Rapture, Imagine what a mess the place would be if every corpse killed was still there (they would have someone play thru the original game and record all the kills and then it becomes evident what a slaughterhouse/shooting gallery those games are - even on Hard).
"Hey look, Stanley Pooles skeleton is still in that control booth, and he STILL looks weaselly...."
MMORPG Mission(s) could be able to almost verbatum reuse those level's assets ( see my level redo maps to view how they could be expanded properly), and the terrain would be slice-n-diced for the new game engine. Revisiting the BS1/BS2 places might be important when the MMORPG game starts, as its before Player Asset Creation is in full swing to turn out alot of additional/new content. The nostalgia aspect of going back thru those places ...
Similar Mission might be following the trail of where 'Johnny' (the accidental Delta Clone) went on his trek thru Rapture (all different places -- not part of BS1/BS2).
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What I think of 'Altruism', and its aspect in the original game :
They paint a pretty one-dimensional/absolutist picture of Ryan, making him claim that 'altruism' is the worst attrocity in history - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f18NWnxRmjI
There are many people who are not 'perfect', and Ryan made a living selling them things they needed. Our world does not exist with only 'the best and brightest' -- there is also the Mass of the Mundane. People make mistakes, but can still move forward, sometimes learning their lesson. Altruism done to give people a chance to survive and learn from their mistakes? It keeps society, even civilization, from imploding.
That is simple reality and very stupid to have Ryan not make allowances. Yes, Altruism can be abused, and invoking it can be used as a tool by evil people (an "Altruist" is someone who demands/forces altruism upon others). It is those evil manipulative people not 'altruism' which is the problem.
Do I sound like Sofia Lamb now ? No. I talk of how to handle 'evil' people, not Sofia's deluded "fix all people" solution - her trying to mold everyone into her bizarre collectivist vision of 'perfection' and 'oneness' and 'selflessness'.
Why should Ryan wish to save 'other people' from the tiny-minded/conniving controllers of the World ?? Why should he even bother to HELP OTHERS by giving them an alternative to the 'ant peoples' world by building Rapture ??? ( " One Mans Vision, Mankinds Salvation" ) Not Altruism ? Funny, it sounds like altruism to me. Why not Ryan just use his billions and his genius to create a one-man Eden for himself, alone to inhabit ?? He could have, if he wished. But he did not do that. He tries to build a better world for humanity -- an example of how things SHOULD be, and not just for himself.
So the game yet again contradicts itself, in the flawed way they explain Ryan's motives and philosophy.
(add to the list with the "No Laws" stupidity, and the "Surrender monkey: Im committing suicide" bit).
Bioshock IS really a violent blast-fest game, created first and foremost to make money ($$$) , and all this philosophy stuff is just a distant secondary aspect to try to make it (allegedly) different than all the other shooting gallery games. Unfortunatrely the writers/devs created a game with logic holes you could fly a Zepellin through.
Perhaps unintended, in seeing this flawed 'strawman' philosophy they created, this attempt to belittle individualism and rejection of the nanny-state, we can realize Ryan should be better than the designer's biased portrayal. We can learn by seeing the game's unrealistic created-to-fail FAILTOPIA philosophy as propaganda. We can consider how the game SHOULD have explained -- a real Ryan's dream -- a life without the power hungry fake-do-gooders that afflict our real lives. Still plenty to go wrong ("Bio" "Shock" after all) and become the catstrophe for the shoot-em-up, but that would have take more skill and dedication to write properly.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawCharacter (see also "Straw Dystopia")
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Challenging NPCs (smarter, more versatile, more interesting) :
Multi-Player in BS2 (real Players) gave you an idea closer to what real Splicers might be like to fight (but really NPCs cannot act that varied/imaginitive in currently made games). Many Players do not want to face such fast moving/reacting/tricky opponents in these mindless turkey-shoot/shooting-gallery/blast-fest type of game (you would die way too easily from competant opponents, over and over). In such a game's "Hard" mode you would not have time for the puzzle solving aspect or the set piece trap-laying situations, as at any time you could be ambushed (forcing you to be very wary all the time). That would detract from the sightseeing part of the game. Many Players like a game with easy high body-count to prop up their self-esteem and feed their delusions, thinking is too much trouble. More challenging also would mean more FAILS (save and load) another ego deflater (and getting stuck can also get boring/repetitive).
For the MMORPG creating much tougher/tricky NPC Splicers would be a goal. There still needs to be a difficulty spectrum setting because not all Players want so much continuous hazard (and they should often have the choice to avoid it). So many less hectic/dangerous scenarios need to be provided to offer a wider range of play-styles. Difficulties should be there for when the player feels like being challenged.
Players would also have more mechanisms/actions/strategies to counter/avoid the dangerous situations (simply getting sufficient warning to avoid them helps). There should be alternate tactics, more ways to get things done - employing the players imagination. Having a wider range of outcomes (versus the usual win or die) also would be interesting and lead to more varying consequences, which could be interesting to solve/adapt to.
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Strange Figures, Weird Figures - SI 12-3/4, FON 34-7/8, RYI 87-1/8, AE 26-1/2 ... :
"And in those corridors I see figures, strange figures, weird figures: Steel 186, Anaconda 74, American Cane 138..." Eugene O Neil - Strange Interlude
Equivalent of a stock exchange in Rapture - investment in 'company shares' which unlike shares today (but did in the past) could include 'assessments' where the stockholders are required to pay additional money in to the company to maintain their shares.
Hmm, Old Stock Certificates to be found in the Ruins (hmm, Art Deco style ones..) - no value now, but evidence of what Rapture once was ...
No worry for New Rapture of any 'crash', as its economy isnt big enough for such thing - wont be for a very long time.
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The Fontaine Arms :
Located in Fontaine Court (originally Beowulf Gulch) just down the AE tracks from Neptunes Bounty. Fontaine pretty much owned Neptune's Bounty, and would have wanted a "company town" nearby which he could control. There he had low-cost housing that he could coerce his workers into renting (and gouging them for the rent and thru local businesses for consumer merchandise/staples). New Rapture was founded 1970 at Fontaine Court, which becomes 'City Center' picked for its close proximity to Neptune's Bounty (food), Hesphaestus (power/heat/water), the Atlantic Express Depot (transportation, equipment), and its defensibility.
The Fontaine Arms 'hotel' was pretty meager and only a step up from the quality of "Fontaines Home for the Poor". (And you thought Sinclair Deluxe looked shoddy ??? BTW, that 'shoddy' we saw at Sinclair's was AFTER 'The Family' ran the place for quite a few years).
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Big Daddy customization - Paintjobs :
I perused various Big Daddy artworks on the Internetz and it occurred to me that Big Daddies would likely have paint jobs on their suits. For City Maintenance Cyborgs (CMCs ??) they would have safety colors (visible white stripes, etc..) and maybe flashing warning lights to make them visible to prevent disruption of their work. Protectors might have warning colors and fearsome artwork to warn away miscreants (or maybe candy colors to appeal to Little Sisters?? Funny/disturbing would be teddybear heads and bunny ear decorations...). As part of a PR campaign, some (for a while) may have been painted in 'happy colors' to try to improve their image with the Citizens.
Who would paint them ? Well they did have handlers (didnt Pablo Navarro comment on them going thru (burning out parts ie- R-34s) some circuit mechanisms very fast ....). And there could be various unofficial 'nose art' for Big Daddies (have some with their kill counts stenciled on them ? ). Big Daddies were numbered and centrally tasked, so most would have a serial number visible.
Motorized (and normal) Bicycles in Rapture:
We saw bicyle ads and the bicycles themselves laying discarded in our travels (even though much of the game terrain wasnt exactly tailored to bicycle use). They would be a convenient method of intermediate length travels (particularly with the 'Streets' connecting various City clusters.) They would be affordable by just about any Citizen.
There were the simple human powered ones, but soon they could have fuel powered motors and the latest versions were electric (much helped by better battery/motor technology) or compressed air (refuelable at Air stations). Variations might be equivalent to golfcarts and pedicabs or even motorized scateboards.
Splicers on bicycle hurtling at you suddenly - the MMORPG system should handle it. Interesting for these to be 'vehicles' (something largely missing from the original games - the Bathyspheres and AE trains were cutscenes).
I could see use for them in 'The Farms' which were miles and miles of tunnels where even though there was no 'stoop' labor there still had to be routine work done on the hydroponic systems. Bicycles would be more versatile than larger powered vehicles and they also can carry a suprising amount of cargo weight.
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Levittown - example of how suburbs really started in the US :
Inexpensive mass production (economy of scale), market for new families post-war baby boom (market demand).
Open/previously unused space to develop -- semi-rural section of Long Island, but with close proximity to transportation to one of largest/most important cities in world (jobs...)
Growth/maturing of flexible transportation - automobiles and high speed roads, well connected trains
Capital ($$$) available to make the project happen on a sufficient scale (neighborhood sized development of single family houses by one developer - something new at that time).
Population (buyers) seeking a different living environment than available in cities (and access to big city jobs/conveniences/advantages that small towns couldnt have).
Lessons learned from earlier Rapture experiences - many people have a desire for "more Space" (including private 'outdoor' space - if you can call underground cavern-like situation that). Expanding population in Rapture called for new construction. 'Suburb' areas using latest contruction technologies (tunnels cut in stable bedrock cut construction costs significantly)
Game Asset Creation Initial Objects (early stuff to get MMORPG going) :
- 'Alpha' phase (Pre-release 'Player Asset Creation') would be extracting/recycling all the Old Content from the previous game's data -- all those machines/Objects/items seen in the old BS1/BS2+MP/DLC content. Many 'baked' into the level terrain would be chopped out and made into discrete objects. The process would build up and extend the data for those many Object's attributes/function/interactions, so that they can be used in more interactive MMORPG game (ie- every object will be able to be picked up/moved/destroyed/etc..).
There are lots of existing utility machines/equiptment/regulators/others (props) with industrial/manufacturing/tool uses, which would be recombined to create/incorporate into alot of new terrain/terrain details...).
- Late Alpha Phase - Once sufficient object types exist in the game system, they can then be used to recreated many of the BS1/BS2 locations (ie- Neptunes Bounty).
- Beta Phase - Once all these building block objects exist the games Auto-Generate Templates will be used to build/compose unique 'on-the-fly' game terrain (all those areas we never went to - start filling in the rest o fthe City).
Many objects will have 'style' attributes, which give hints to Auto-placement/Auto-Generate system to maintain some aesthetic theme for a particular location (ie- a building using all the same utility hardware throughout, or the same decorative 'style'...). Objects would locally 'inherit' such details by default as part of the system and thus would mutate from place to place.
Much of the raw 'baked' level data from the previous games (including Infinite now I guess) can also have basic detail (like texture patterns) extracted to build up a palette of graphics resources to be re-used by Players to compose all-new Assets.
Grungification of objects also would be done automaticly (once the created objects are setup with the needed attribute data) adding dirt and wear ontop of other details to vary the specific objects even more.
Creation of new assets - New features in the more complex game mechanics would require additional objects. These would be identified, and entirely new Assets planned for creation. A Request Object List would be published, and work farmed out to a growing Player Creation Community. Existing (recycled) objects would be used as initial placeholders until later improved/diversified variantsbecome available. When the Creation Community becomes fully functional then multitudes of additional/new object types would be added.
Not Your Father's Bioshock :
Big difference in the combat in MMORPG, when you may more often have NPCs assisting you and there IS "friendly fire" in the game mechanics (will have to be properly handled with other Players because this is an obvious 'griefer' tactic if allowed).
Stealth tactics, changing tactics of when enemies make a 'strategic withdrawl'. Splicers use more tactics including defensive traps and such (not just 'run at you and try to kill you').
More care in positionings (and smarts of the computer AI that controls the NPCs) and signals/coordination of tactics (including training and instructions for the kind of tactics you want to use in various situations - coordinating your 'Team' NPCs).
Less 'death' and more disabling/nullifying of enemies (including accidental damage on your allies). A primary goal is not to kill Splicers if possible (will need more non-Splicer opponents then to allow Players to satisfy their blood lust).
Wounds are persistant and can effect performance in various ways (no insta-heal patching you up to "good as new" in mere seconds -- you have to go back and get treated/repaired expensively, so will often operate with accumulation of 'wounds' (and have to handle things accordingly/compensate).
You are not running all the time. Movement is more critical and running into every hazzard isnt ignored.
Fast/Normal/Slow have appropriate times to be used.
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Money of Rapture (R$) :
On bringing in immigrants to Rapture there was a fixed conversion from Surface money ( standardized on US$ ) on arrival. Credit from surface financial assets was converted to purchased Rapture buildings, etc... And the remainder was turned into CASH. While the exchanged Surface money was then spent to buy/manufacture more materials/components and to facilitate more City construction. Securities/properties on the Surface would be slowly sold off (good things late 40s/early 50s wer a boom time) to get the best value and to not attract attention.
Materials bought/acquired privately by individuals on the Surface would not need monetary conversion (transport charges still applied). They added to the City's sum wealth.
As long as goods from the surface were transfered, money's value was roughtly linked. Later value would be independant of the Surface and subject to Supply and Demand within Rapture. Value of money is based on who will accept it in exchange for goods and services (and an expectation that the same would hold true for it later).
Regulation of Rapture's Money Supply was supposed to be largely uncontrolled (No creation of new 'fiat' money). Prices in Ryan's Rapture would not be regulated, but it might be roughly bound to basic expenses, like Power and Heating (which were largely maintained/controlled by Ryan). So, one stabalizing factor for 'money' would be Ryan (the major property holder in Rapture) accepting Ryan dollars in payments for rent and power/heat.
New Rapture based its new Money on the basic commodity of a certain quantities of edible fish/basic rent and power, and an hourly wage for basic City Maintenance work.
Players expand past those basics and there would be further expenses for power/heat/rents. Free market for various goods the Player would use in the game - tools/consumables/training of skills/City services/materials for building/etc.. Many of those things are tied to Player preferences on specific Game Worlds and thus might vary significantly (few fixed prices).
Most games regulate the economy to various extents and at least to keep things stable (when players often tend do everthing possible to destabilize things). In this MMORPG there is the population of NPCs who can (being part of the economy) be counted on to act a bit more moderately.
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