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More interesting items/ideas for a Bioshock Rapture MMORPG

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Part 98

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MMORPG - No Do-Overs (in Game Play) :

How many games realisticly (?) handle failure in their choreographed mission situations ? ( GAME OVER DUDE!!! are largely gone)

In MMORPGs live-action, you don't get to immediately rewind and start over (usually the whole mission can be taken over, or in group 'Raids' you quickly resurrect and rejoin the situation).

More adaptable game mechanics must allow :

- Bizarre (but non-fatal outcomes) - so you continue with whatever falls out ....

- Splicer opponents are as inept as you are ...

- This MMORPG's Splicers won't have a deathwish like most games simpleton NPC enemies, when a situation starts getting weird they decide that Retreat is not a Bad Idea.

- Outcomes are not critical to any Following Missions, and you can have many more potential partial results (fluidity and uniqueness) written into the mechanism.

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In-game Joke : You Receive a Box which when Opened has a Cat in it Doing Strange Things (Not Dead)

- Miniature Mt Rushmore with cat faces on it

- A cat dancing ballet (in a tutu)

- Recreation of the 'golf club' scene from BS1 (with cats playing the parts)

- Cat just sits there, staring at you as most of them do, most of the time.

- A Cat with a box that it opens to reveal a dead human killed by a poison device triggered by a quantum state (cats too can do 'Thought Experiments'.....)

- A Cat with a little computer playing an exciting MMORPG game about people who spend all their time online commenting about a computer game ...

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Artificial Ineptness of Players Doing Actions In Games :

In-game Skills (like aiming + shooting, basic maneuvers) often have artificial clumsyness'/ineffeciency applied - requiring Players to repeatedly use skills (ad nauseum) to 'advance' to become better/competent doing the same actions. But all along (even when 'improving') the Player is pretty much doing the action exactly the same way. (These skill ramps are often added because the actual game mechanics lack accuracy, and 'success is just an approximation. ) This should be avoided with improved game performance. Rather better to use : Standard and consistent (better/accurate) physics, and then have Players make use use of THEIR knowledge, cleverness, appropriate tools, tactics and timing to do 'better'. You still can't make it TOO realistic - actions in response to ordinary conditions should be more thoughtlessly reflexive (micromanaging is tedious and dull to most Players). It should be for special situations when the extra care/attention/precautions becomes important for the Player to invest.

Learning Curve ? How far do you take this ? (shouldn't be needed for ordinary things which initially the Player's Avatar should not do badly (basic competence in everyday manipulations) - "NO Oops, need 87 more skill XP before I can drink from a coffee cup without spilling it on myself...") Specialization requires specialized skills which need training and experiennce to advance.

The Player's abilities envelope should be affected by proper Tool selection, advanced detection (to alert player their attention is required), NPCs doing routine/mundane/boring things automatically (a major AI achievement) to avoid Players distraction, Player's overall range of decisions for contingencies of the potential multiple results (flexibility vs optimization).

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All the Crap that Falls out of Their (Splicers) Pockets :

Stuff you loot from enemies can be like Christmas (although they might be smart enough to discard their most useless items first before YOU chase them down).

With so many goodies, it makes up for the added difficulty of capturing a Splicer.

'Amusing' items for an MMORPG can be as good as being 'worth cash'.

Skill - Supressing Nausea - some of the things they keep might be rather noisome. Perhaps you may want to have your booster shots kept up to date before going out adventuring ? (Actually THATS a GOOD detail idea for the MMORPG ... Tetanus, Rabies, etc...)

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How to Keep the MMORPG From Turning into a Mutant Freakshow :

You want to keep the Splicer flavors limited - mostly human - disfigurment is horrific enough (and contrary to popular belief, things with tentacles don't walk so easily on dry land - THOUGH nothing says we can't have some oddities out in the Ocean... Ack - Woody Allen's Nightmare vision (from Sleeper) of a thing with the body of a Crab and the head of an Insurance Salesman...)

Easy justification - too much mutation is unstable and fatal (read about early ADAM genetic research in the Novel)

Best Reason - ever try animating tentacles and such ?? Making up all the required animations (usually unique to a particular body form/flavor) is ALOT of work. Much easier to reuse the standard anthromorphic (human) animations with just a few unique ones thrown in.

I suppose some odd looking corpses can be found (which DONT have to be animated) which might hint at various ADAM-weirdness having happened in the past.

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One of Those Flashback Scenes (Cohen Sander's Parties) :

With a fountain like they used to have for Champagne except it has red glowing ADAM in it (and maybe a blue one for EVE). A crowd of Cohen's Guests - people wearing nothing but Pope Hats whacking each other with rabbit corpses dipped in Absinthe .... I think we can skip that.

Moth to a Flame.... Hmmm you can do pretty nasty stuff with flames ... leave it to the Player Asset Creators imagination for these flashbacks/nightmare sequences.

Sander Cohen discovers Black Light !!!

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Observation About Bonded Delta and Little Sister Eleanor :

The (early type) bond was one-to-one - Delta didn't trade-her-in for another. So why should he let her leave, and how would he find her again ? (Walking them back home mightve been the process?)

Eleanor probably would, by Delta, be escorted to wherever she "handed over" (nice term for regurgitated) the ADAM she collected -- Fontaine Futuristics ? or some local collecting spot (It never was disclosed where the 'vent' things actually went and how far (like miles ?) the Little Sisters had to crawl through them.)

The later Big Daddies were more flexible, and 'adopted' any unescorted Little Sister they happened upon. They apparently also did some repairs while waiting (we saw some fixing stuff here and their in the Solo games), though those may NOT have been 'Big Daddies, just the undistracted City Mainenance Cyborgs.

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Another Reason for the High Cost of ADAM Products in Columbia :

We didn't see any Little Sisters (with their 10-30X ADAM production). Though it is possible that Fink had them hidden somewhere -- no reason why 'minority' children don't work any worse than little white girls.

The game writers (BaS after its disclosed that the magic potions are ADAM-based) were probably a little too Squeamish to indicate such activities in Columbia, once they reworked the Canon to include Sea-Slug-based Vigors (instead of them being easily solved by Quantumz like everything else).

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In Rapture, Whiney Wheels DONT Get The Oil :

The Bioshock Game writers make ordinary people out to be a bunch of Feebs ? Workers turn into destitute hobos at the least of economic issues (Depressions happened in America every 2 decades, SO how did everyone possibly survive then ????)? For People who went through the Great Depression and WW2 ? With a mix of BETTER-than-ordinary/Able people selected by Ryan (who is unlikely to have stocked his city by scooping up homeless people, or with inclination to be Welfare State dependants).

But gotta have a "Hooverville" for Aunt Grace to whine about -- maybe it can psychologically be attributed to exaggeration useful to her profession of 'Singing The Blues' (which she did seem to do pretty well by herself). But then who is the Audio Diary addressed to -- if it to herself then its what she 'believes' (?) ...

"Looking down their noses at us..." - but then envision what the place labeled 'Paupers Drop' looked like after Sinclair took that 'under the tracks' homeless area and redeveloped it -- its a pretty fancy place if you remove the Lamb-era decrepitness and terrorist destruction (and years of neglect under the Lamb regime). Those New York style Art Deco building fronts ARE NOT something you find 'under the tracks' in a squatters camp.

For an upbeat forward looking place like Rapture, doesn't it seem kind of the wrong place for a 'Blues Singer' to come to ? As mentioned elsewhere most 'artists' in Rapture really didn't have any reason to be there (unless they were truely fearful of 'The Bomb').

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Sciencey Game Terminology :

Infinite BS abuse of Quantumz - You might as well misuse the rest of the related terminology ...

Wave Function ( "Im just not a 'particle' kind of girl" )

Bose Condensate ( "CONDENSATE this Sucka !!!" )

"Spin" ( "Oh Booker, You'd think your SPIN was abnormal !!!" )

Tears Quantum "Tunnel" to Excitement and Adventure ...

"Excitation State" - for the 'shield thingee', where higher means more energy to deflect, or Booker just found Lady Comstock 'hot'...

"Orbital Quanta" - your power level - electons jump to higher 'energy states' as an atom absorbs energy (Note- This has nothing to do with "Trans-Orbital Lobotomy" ...)

"Probabilistic" - likelyhood you are NOT where that bullet is ...

"Entangled" - "What you mean ENTANGLED Willis ??" (oops this was previously (BS2) implied)

Of course all this kind of stuff means that Booker has Quantum Particles in his magic pants, and Wears portable Tears as part of his kit ...

There is always "A Particle, A Constraint, and Entanglement" (City, Man, Lighthouse are ALWAYS optional in the bigger scheme of things).

So if Booker with Lizzy goes through a Tear into a universe where his "Belt of Discount From Stamp Machines" doesn't exist (never was invented), THEN the one he is wearing 'goes weird' (Dimensional Discordance...) and his pants suddenly fall down ??? Or do they suddenly become a Black Hole that starts crushing him (the real screaming begins... That reminds me - Elizabeth at the end of Infinite BS at the 'Baptism Scene', could have just giving Booker a Trans-Orbital Lobotomy and solved the problem WITHOUT committing Murder) ?

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Why Should Booker be (In Infinite BS) the Only One with 'Gear' ?? :

Policemen 'Flying Squad' who are tricked out with all the goodies (I mean they SELL the things in Vending Machines, and it would be the Columbia Police Force (and Comstock) that was footing the bill (for the rediculously pricey stuff).

But then Booker would be dead meat and they would need even MORE absurd mechanisms to artificially keep him alive.

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Scripting Commplexity - Adaptibility/Versatility :

A big issue is that if you can, as a Player, (have the freedom to) do whatever you like (or even alot of what you might like/want to do) the games logic/scripting has to be that much more complex, to have the game React appropriately to the possible Player's actions.

That goes for simple reflexes/effects on 'Dumb Objects' upto major Story Flow logic. I would estimate 2 magnitudes (100X) more programming (and probably a magnitude more more processing resources) be required to start to achieve that. At least a magnitude more maintained object data is required to get close to such 'freedom', to bring sufficient adaptability in the gameplay.

There is a good reason WHY current games are mostly choreographed/linear, with severe limitations upon the Player to prevent disrupting the predesigned story and events. Older games couldn't have sufficient computer resources (even the much-touted Half-Life only had 'a bit' more reactive logic scripted than other games). And even with our (now) greatly expanded CPU/Memory, the cost of programming and testing further partial improvements is prohibitive (ie- the Square Law - just doubling the complexity of the program quadruples the amount of testing it requires - making that expand faster than the programming cost) .

To have (realistic) appropriate reactions out of 'intelligent' NPCs - it is getting into heavyweight AI for them to shape their behavior to the things the player MIGHT do and the range of game situations. It is not just immediate reflexive actions, but (as someone mentioned) their motivations can be subsequently warped/changed, requiring their tactics and strategy to be ajdusted in a logical way.

Similarly, things like deformable terrain and prop objects, which react to multiple effects being made upon them, make the visible presentation that much more complex to achieve. This includes secondary 'chained' effects and complex interactions when more than one affect is being applied simultaneously - even to simple non-mechanical objects.

Alot more detail, alot more logic, alot more headache for the people who are supposed to make it work (and alot more $$$ to create it).

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Who Is Delta ? :

4th letter of Greek alphabet. Is that 4th test subject of the "Alpha" Series Protector Project ? Or Test Subject #4 of Plasmid Testing ? Or is he the 4th Successful conversion ? It is not known how many conversion subjects died or were rejected to get that far (OR if the numbers were recycled on failures).

Before his arrival in Rapture, the man nicknamed "Johnny Topside" (who possibly would become Subject Delta) was a 'deep sea diver' who conducted an investigation of the many ship and submarine disappearances in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Iceland. Allegedly while surveying the area in an advanced 'diving chamber', he accidentally discovered the hidden city.

Diving bells require large support ships (which they don't move far away from). It is rather hard to believe that the ship's crew did not first see the Rapture's Lighthouse, which IS in close proximity to Rapture. Undersea Surveying usually takes place from a mothership and using sensors dangled down into the depths, often for a period of weeks. Only when they find something, does a human go below in a 'diving bell' for a closer look.

Possibly to Andrew Ryan this sounded suspicious, and he did not trust the story (Johnny T's). Eventually Ryan was convinced enough that the man must be a government agent sent to spy on Rapture. Ryan removed him from the city, and had him incarcerated at Persephone Penal Colony.

It is never made clear what happened to the 'mother' ship, and that the diving bell would have to remain sealed while it was taken into Rapture (through an airlock OR if opened out there the pressure of several hundred feet of water would have killed its occupant instantly).

It may have been Stanley Poole, a journalist who had written a story on this visitor, who may have created the nickname "Johnny Topside".

SO was Delta this guy or someone else ? Does it matter ? Using the Zombase Tonic "Daddy Dont Remember Squat No More".

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ADAM, The Gathering :

A card game played by Big Daddies who had alot of time between Leak Alerts and Little Sister 'wakey-times'. (Would they create the cards or just use regular playing cards ??)

Usually played for consumables (Potato Chips, Candy Bars, Fishheads, Ciggies, etc...)

SOME of the cards being tatoos on chunks of skin torn off corpses (everyone should have a hobby...)

For Long years the Big Daddies kept Rapture alive, and you cannot fault them with having at least some leisure activities.

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(New) Audio Diary - Week Before the Shootout - Neptunes Bounty :

Officer Muldoon : Wed September 12th 1958 5AM - Report on Stakeout at Neptune's Bounty.

Observation of the Docks - the usual traffic of the fishing subs coming and going, dumping off their cargo which disappears into the fish processing plant.

Damn all this waiting. We know that Fontaine is doing it, and Fontaine knows that WE know he's doing it, SO why the fuck don't we just take him down, then we can get back to apprehending Splicer muggers and such ..

BUT Ryan wants it all done legally - He said 'what good is this place if Fontaine can be arrested and charged without proper proof' - I'd look like a hypocrite if I allowed some Kangaroo Court' .

Wait. Theres that squirrely guy Wilkins. Looks really nervous. Well, its understandable after what happened to the last guy who only looked like he was trying to talk to the police. His wife found him floating outside their apartment window, being nibbled on by fish.

There. He's signalling with the 'gimpy leg' he said would be the sign. This could be it, what we've been after for so many months.

What the Fuck was that !!! Ive never seen a Splicer do THAT before.

Ok, we're moving in and the guys with those Special Weapons at taking up their positions.

Arrest now proceding.... Officer Muldoon Signing Off.

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Audio Diaries - (Real Paper Diaries Would Still be far Better ?) :

Thinking about it - what is the point of all these Audio Diaries which are 'personal thoughts' just meant for the recorder? How many times do you need to listen to it? You keep a pile of them at home for future reference/reminiscences ??? You'd think a paper diary (or a file folder) would be simpler (and quieter), and you can even draw pictures in those (and store hunderds of hours in something costing a few dollars). Strange we really didn't find many of those (though wasnt SIts one giant one of those ?).

SO you record your personal thoughts - perhaps incriminating if not embarassing and so someone else might find it and then use it against you. Yeah alot of people would be NOT be doing that. They did seem to get lost alot and wound up in the strangest places (and probably amused spiceres for years later).

They also have a cost which many people would not be willing to pay to just store a 30 second blurb on. (Being a device and not the equivalent of a cassette or magnetic diskette which would have been FAR cheaper per record unit.) Some 'trendy' people (posers) might use them to show off or to make believe they are 'with it' and 'in the groove' with modern advances. Practical aspects really arent there for most people. Business use - there already were Dictating Machines (and its odd we never saw any of these Audio Diaries used for THAT pupose).

The little (REAL) pocket Recorders some people used (too record quick thoughts) were capable of recording dozens of messages. Instead as seen, each one message being clunky and the size of a portable tape recorder (brick size and weight).

The Audio Diaries that are used as memos/messages to others are OK (and could/would be reused too)

Regurgitation Station (say that three times real fast !!) - Infinites reuse of the idea - VoxOPhones - were BY FAR even more ludicrous. Maybe Quantumz forcefields were used to protect the exposed records. (I like my version much better) :


This would have put the 'fear' into your opponents...










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Meal Ticket :

Something Which Became Rather Important During Rapture "Civil War"

With major disruptions to the economy, and the citizens supply chains (even for basic sustenance).

Ryan keeping things running, with a priority just feeding people. Most citizens in Rapture would support Ryan (and Atlas for all his high talk produces little that keeps people alive, and only advocates stealing from others).

It might be asked : Really how long could Atlas hold out when he had to feed the people doing the killing and destruction for him. The truth may be that there really were only so many (it doesn't take many to do random acts of violence and killing, interupt normalcy, and to bring things to a standstill).

Strong Measures would be taken in reaction (whined about by the game authors who live in a nice safe protected world, and who apparently know nothing of real history and of people so remote in situation from themselves).

Atlas's chaos would become less and less effective, requiring him to do more and more heineous acts. That happening to the point where by the time Jack arrives, Atlas is all but defeated (and not as portrayed - by some "Pheromone Control", which had no effect on the population's majority -- who STILL weren't Splicers).

Ryan was stability and a 'known quantity', where Atlas, self-proclaimed 'voice of the people', was just a criminal anarchist, and MOST of Rapture wanted him dead..

My Theory - Brenda and Charlie ran what was left of Kashmir for Ryan, to feed people (the filthy kitchen DID look like it had seen recent use). The Cuisine probably wasn't up to the old standards, but to truely hungry workers (also still working for Ryan), a solid meal of Cooked Fish and Potates probably would be just fine.

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Columbias Scheduled Route Takes It Over the Rockies :

Not sure why it needs a fixed schedule/path - it just would make it easier for the US government to destroy or seize it ...

Anyway, The Continental Divide around there is at least 10000 feet, and Columbia would there have to either be MUCH closer to the ground (and subject assault by airplanes and to much-easier artillery fire -- which it is anyway even at 15000 ft) *OR* It would have to climb to ~25000 feet and have ALOT of its citizens dying from the rather thin air (and freezing to death too). ( Newspaper Headline Article from 1899 : Talking about "Multitudes of Frozen Corpses "mysteriously" Raining From the Sky", and another about "The Floating Ghost City, Wandering Aimlessly 5 Miles Up in the Sky" )

Maybe Quantumz keep you warm and thickens the air magically to handle this issue ? Heck, it does everything else you could want, so WHY even have a vulnerable floating city - just one gloriously spread between now STABLE (not head-burst causing) Tears across the Universe. With upside down or vertical (or rollercoaster loop the loop) floors and mile-high ceilings, windows looking out on Saturn and the Moon, and all kinds of shiney/pretty stuff and awesome psychedelic colors and Praying Dogs and Whales singing Barbershop Quartet music... No need for the troublesome minorities, they have all been replaced with kindly mist-being servants (that the citizens call Genies). SO much more logical and conducive to Piety and Righteousness - instead of keeping all that old bothersome outdated crap.

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Booker using Elizabeth as a Human Shield :

They won't shoot (their lamb/heir/whatever...) at her, so Booker (who is not a nice person anyway) makes use of his ruthless skills to get his mission done with, and still slaughters all the hapless guards he would have otherwise. "Move Away Or The Girl Gets It!!!" he shouts. Tieing her up probably would make it that much easier. The first of those hover-barges he gets to, its away at full speed down towards the ground heading for the place he will turn her in for his CASH reward (and no need for all that stupid stuff that makes up the rest of the game's rediculously contorted plot.)

The Human Shield tactic can't be made too easy. So if Booker (the Player) pushes it too much, then Booker has to stop her bleeding (unless he thinks that "bring us the girl" didn't neccessarily mean alive ...) One Head shot though, and its GAME OVER!!!!

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Columbia's Architecture - American Exceptualism ? - Old Stuff Only Brings Yawns :

Look at some of the Concept Art that various people did for Columbia, and then compare it to the regurgiatated Disneyland Main Street style that was chosen. We coulda had THAT other stuff (and with all Columbias other illogical rubbish, 'distraction' wasnt really an issue).

Why build Columbia in the common everyday style ? World Exposition Architecture was to be New and Different and Impressive (The Way the Eiffel Tower was different ). Simple height wasn't enough - 10 story buildings were common in Roman times. Neo Classical Architecture was Pass'e at that time. A Floating City should be light and airy and not made of blocks of brick buildings and cobblestone streets (which are REAL poor materials to be hanging (tension forces) from some magic particles). Gossamer ensembles can be just as impressive as solidly massive statues which structurally can't work.

Columbia also initially wouldn't be built as an operating city for the Exposition - it would MORE be chickenwire, stucco/plaster-lathe Faux buildings and false fronts than anything (the Popcorn Stands would have been the most solid things there). Its an 'Attaction'/'Ride' for Siteseers, and even the "Show City's" actors/concession vendors probably wouldn't live there.

Subsequent buildings added onto Columbia ? Til it grew to the monstrocity we later see ? Built to reflect 'Normalcy' for the Righteous Population that was to inhabit the Heavenly Ark ? They got supplies from somewhere (can't allow everything to be taken care of by Quantumz -- OR YOU COULD AND IT COULD'VE BEEN DONE BETTER...). So I suppose they could have continued to enlarge it and add the bits that were actually required to allow people to live there (of course where the money comes from for those supplies/materials is a seperate issue). All that other added overblown monumental stuff we see there would bankrupt a country (and sorry, no tax dollars for that -- as if there was much originally anyway).

Built-in Slums too ? Real Imagination (and daring) would have had the slaves living down in the not-quite-heavenly city sewers/service-underworld - out of sight and condemned to their rightfully heaven-mandated place in society. If you are going to do Racism and Class Oppression, then do it properly. Convicts ? Who's going to trust Convicts being in the City ? Maybe Trans-Orbital Lobotomy was the normal 'pacification' system used on ALL the menials (sorry no Vox possible then), and you could have the "Culling Protocol", by which the useless menials were simply "dropped over the side" when they were no longer productive. Remember - "God gave the Whiteman dominion over all the lesser Races", so lets not have such mentality shown to be so watered-down and moderated.

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Control Issues - Keyboard :

With more control actions/options possible on a PC Keyboard, the possibility of hitting the wrong button increases. Character Actions should be less 'split second' (it is not a twitch "Fighting" game). The Player also might be more dependant on what is 'At Hand', rather than taking a timeout to rummange through all their possessions for the 'kitchen sink' (you keep your most useful weapon IN YOUR HANDS...). The even-worse Console Controllers are quite limited, and 'dumbing down' the game to give time to walk thru greatly expanded selector menus would be detrimental.

For Casual Players .. Console style ... OK, but you can miss out on all the rest of the stuff. (But then the Idea would be the program would be FREE - with a monthly subscription - so the same Player sometimes being on a Console, other times on a PC, and of couse on the Tablet/Smartphone interfaces other times.)

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Fountain of Youth Tonic :

"The Player will slowly regenerate health and EVE when in contact with water. Received at Research level 4 of Spider Splicers".

Interesting mutation attribute of Spider Splicers - the most physically modified Splicers we see in the game (second might be Brutes -- we are excluding Gil Alexander ...). Somehow having affinity with water (leaks being salt water -- NOTE - MMORPG, need more salt stains on terrain) and getting some regeneration from it (many mollusks, like Sea Slugs, can regenerate tissue).

Similar to the effects on Little Sisters, which normally making them impervious to the Player (required for Polically Correct game purposes), except for the undoubtably massive damage done while 'Harvesting'.

Well, regeneration was the original physiological effect seen when ADAM was discovered (not mentioned was how fast it worked), and it IS a bit simpler than trying to overlay new genetic patterns on the targetted organism.

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Another MMORPG Boss - "The Dentist" :

"Why does everyone keep calling me Dr Steinman ?!?!? "

"Root Canal !!!! "

"So I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp... Is it Safe ? "

"You haven't been flossing ...."

"Was there ever a Masquerade mask shaped like a Molar ? This guy would have worn it...

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Perhaps it is a Good Thing We Didnt Have Smells Reported to Us in Bioshock :

- Corpses in a damp environment

- Splicers, after most of the showers (and the laundry) no longer work

- Disagreeable Spills of all sorts.

- Electrical Ozone and Smoke from fires.

- No longer fresh Fish, and rotting food

- Mold and Mildew, Rust and Wood Rot

- Gangrenous flesh

- Urine.

That will all be fixed in my marvelous Bioshock MMORPG (Smell-O-Vision ....)

Even in the Golden Times, Rapture's air circulation wasn't overly impressive, so watch out for those sealed doors when opened, inside may smell like homemade mayonaise jar left at room temperature for 9 months, or certain cheeses.

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