MMORPG idea for Bioshock Rapture
Hmmm, would it (could it) be an MMORPG overlapped with RTS elements (and in places with FPS for 'battles' ). The setting would be post-Lamb as to not interfere with the BS1-BS2 plotlines. There would be the usual Player vs the Environment, but how much would you allow Player vs Player? PvP is usually disruptive to a game with long term goals (rebuilding Rapture) so would have to be all but eliminated(?). Cooperative games are usually more interesting than simplistic hack/slash/shoot games and can introduce more intricate interactions. The World Map (Rapture) could be endless in its full extent (computer generating techniques can get past any 'static' size), though it might be useful to have a low Player count per server 'World' to keep it from looking too rediculously crowded in the central areas (and the Player overload server issue - though computers have continually been getting more powerful).
Elements for such a game :
Exploration : find your way around initially and figure how things work (getting supplies and interacting with NPCs/ other players and hazards), and then finding a place for your 'rebuilding' effort, and then back to salvage all the things you will need to do so. A real city has to have extensive manufacturing and places to get raw materials, the New York skyline part is just the pinacle of a much larger complex (with much of it potentially in cheaper rock tunnels and all those highrises we see in those pretty views). Places weve seen/been in in BS1/BS2 would be in evidence, they are unique, so we dont want to see them endlessly repeated, but components of them would be recombined with additional ones to extend the city in any/all directions. It will take a bit of development work to come up with additional unique 'key' areas (other parts of the large city we havent seen yet) in addition to more generic parts or areas generated with combinatoric Building Block components to make them semi-unique. Some places/locations you wont reach til you achieve basic things like a diving suit or bathesphere (as part of the standard Mission/Quest chains).
Expand: as you continue, you get more resources to work with ( ? recruiting a Big Daddy - who can do major external repairs, setting up some production for trade, collecting Splicers, equiptment, etc..) Your efforts would have setbacks, but that is just more challenges to overcome. New Missions/Quests would be required as your infrastructure grows, and more complex things are needed, and you tie in with the larger systems/institutions that had existed in the 'city'.
Amenities to make your Rapture world safe/livable with be needed. Many tasks would require cooperating with other Players (though usually such a game has to have alternatives in case insufficient Players (or uncooperative ones only) are available.-- so more than one solution should be offered to Players to achieve their goals.
Exploit: The more you achieve the more 'Followers' (NPCs/lackeys/minions) you can accumulate in your 'Team'.
I would expect some kind of 'Cure' for at least the insanity part of the ADAM addiction, and part of the Player's tasks would be catching 'wild' Splicers to 'heal' them (the game plot might actually have YOU start as one that Tenenbaum got to and set loose in her crusade to 'save' Rapture).
Major (difficult) structural repairs open up old 'drowned' areas for further expansion, and there are bits of machinery everywhere to acquire and put to use. The RTS aspect would be setting your Team NPC 'minions' to work on the extensive rebuilding/repairs/cleanup, and your finding 'specialists' with critical skills to do certain tasks (so more Quests to find/recruit/borrow them). An interesting thing would be your 'Followers' being represented in an FPS view (ie- pets or followers) with them acting (a decent AI) somewhat realistically /appropriately (with some imperfections/misbehavior at least forgivable because of their 'splicer origin).
Alot of game development effort would be needed to have these NPCs act 'normal', without them either becoming too repetitive or standing around like (the usual) mannekins -- the same should go for all the NPCs to make them feel more like people inhabiting a City rather than being mere props).
As the environs in New Rapture are repaired/restored, they start to look more like what Rapture was before 'the fall' (though the patchwork wont let it look too pristine and this only in places fully reworked by Players' efforts -- some 'task' goals are for social prestige, to try to encourage this). There will be many things again working and a normalcy not seen for a decade -- in the central areas where all the Players have concentrated their work and frequently congregate (the 'Bank' in so many MMORPGs). No more leaks/fires, garbage/stains/wreckage cleaned up, fresh coat of paint, lights working again, graffiti removed from walls, doors/elevators holes in walls repaired -- all tasks to be done (if desired) by the Player in his own area, as well as in communal City areas. Shops operating again (preferably with Player generated goods/services), the usual cosmetic components so popular with this game (Art Deco, Metropolitan and Edwardian styles), medical treatments being advanced to try to eliminate the worst of the Splicer's disfigurements, etc etc etc.... Rapture rising again....
Might this have to be one of those cycle games, where each 'World' goes thru phases and has some 'ending', as it develops towards some final goal?? Usually there are many seperate Server Worlds running in different stages, and part of the game for some people is to go see what other people achieved in the different 'worlds'. Rapture is huge though and there can always be more of it in ruin and with pockets of wild Splicers in need of 'saving', to be effectively endless ... Possibly it could be run both ways.
Exterminate: There would be old Factions (NPC Splicer groups with 'Bosses') who wont like what you are doing, and will have to be countered/fought -- organized efforts with assistance from other Players (afterwards opening more resources/access those Factions controlled). There could be some external threats (KGB/CIA/Reality Shows/Jacques Cousteau) that have to be likewise countered/fought off. Fighting off the odd sea life, as well as the sea's endless fatal pressure would be likely threat components. FPS can take place in these conflicts, though with more 'assistance' from your minions and other Players. If you want PvP, I suppose you could organize sports competitions (using your Splicers as teams -- we saw those guys in football uniforms in BS1 -- so where did they come from ??) Competition -- that was in Ryan's vision, and will mostly have to suffice with scores and achievments and status items as in most games. Competing to rebuild will be the biggest challenge.
So theres an outline for Bioshock 4 'The Rebirth of Rapture' or "Rapture Reborn"
An important issue would be : Who owns the rights to the Rapture game assets (including the working data so that it can be fed back into the toolchain to reuse/modify it).
Having ALL the BS1 BS2 data would give a big 'leg up' for an MMORPG flavored game, where all those places/props/figures/effects/sounds/textures/animations we have already seen could be reused and NOT have to be redeveloped. All the DLC content, even the MP maps could be reused (heck, even the MP apartment).
As I mentioned above, part of the MMORPG would be unseen 'unique' sections which we would want newly developed to make them look different and provide for new missing 'city' functions , and complemment the existing stuff. But then also to extract certain elements/features to use as 'building blocks' for the computer generated extensions to be able to have a truly large playing area (methods to autogenerate entire sections of cityscape is possible and its a matter of making sure they dont get repetitive)
There are dozens of skyscrapers in Rapture which usually have duplicate floorplans on dozens of floors. Tunnels in the rock (the cheaper parts of Rapture to build -- no expensive watertight windows) can still be surfaced to look like they are buildings (like Moonbase Alpha) for lowrent areas. Bare rock for interlinking transport/utility tunnels/caverns containing industry/warehouses/mines/greenhouses/etc.... The exterior areas can have that wide variety of sealife we've already seen in the games.
The game engine itself doesnt have to be 'new' as the ones they used are more than adaquate for the FPS views. RTS interfaces are much simpler (a good mapping system would be needed) and since the FPS is the primary game it wont need the full development work ( as if it had been the primary playing interface). Im sure they could come up with some nifty 'art deco' styled interface to help you keep track of you followers/minions/projects/tasks.
Something better for NPC dialogs would be desireable (that can add alot of developer asset work if you actually talk to the NPCs -- versus the sad popup text dialog sub-windows most MMORPGs have). The Mini-Games that we've seen for hacking could be reapplied (and expanded) for 'repairs' of all those bits of mechanical doodads the city needs to remain dry and warm and lit.
Another idea to stretttttch the MMORPG :
I was looking at a thread about having a game of 'Rapture in its heyday' which likely would be too limited by itself but with the extent of Rapture being recreated in my MMORPG proposal, it would be relatively easy to have (many) FLASHBACKS to that time as part of the MMORPG game.
Extended flashback where you take part (they've done this in LOTRO a bit) in big events like the big fight on NewYears1959 when things fell apart, or when Fontaine was taken down and various other important scenes (the first Splicers, the first lil sisters&bigdaddies, Ryans dedication of the city, etc etc ...). Since the core areas of the city are to be largely there/recreated as part of the game (and mostly repaired/restored (eventually) by the players), with a little polish they could look new as original for the Flashback sequences.
One of the things the game companies have found out about MMORPGs is that different players have different areas of interest and having a variety of things for them to do increases the potential player base. Flashbacks telling more of the story of Rapture could be an important part of that (they are also easier to make incrementally as they are independant episodes AND they can be choreographed to make them work properly to tell their mini-stories).
Another idea that might be interesting (and be part of the RTS aspect --- AND be inline with the current technology craze) would be an interface which allows players to monitor/control their non-avatar resources which can run on tablets/palmtops ( a non-3D interface, though 3D effects could be there optionally for flavor/glitz).
The MMORPG players are rebuilding/repairing/expanding Rapture and have NPCs (ex-splicers/big-daddies/auction-house agents/etc..) under their control that would be working on the tasks that take time/boring and make slow progress. 2D symbolic representations corresponding to NPC worksites the player has designated would have NPC and material resources allocated to them and task queues would allow continuation while the player is not online. Re-manufacturing and selling of items (crafting) worked on by the Player's ex-splicer minions (who beside no longer being insane may possess important skills from the ADAM they absorbed through those chaotic years)
This MMORPG is a cooperative game, so communications with other players to acquire/borrow/loan resources or coordinate projects falls into the mail/chat/posting/trade paradigms we already see in many MMORPGs). As seen on many other games, an 'Auction House' mechanism can be used to streamline resource transfers (many goods/items delivered by that wonderous Pneumo-Mail Jet Postal system (which the players will get working again)...
The RTS aspect of the game would motivate/drive some quests in the FPS part of the game to get ahold of things needed for the 'work' of bringing Rapture back to life(repairs and building) . The player will likely have to hunt for critical components in the still-wrecked/wild areas of Rapture, will have to fight off the wild Splicers still inhabitting them, and may have to join their NPC workers to search out and recover those needed resources.
Puzzle Mini-Games fit in with the limited tablet/palmtop interfaces (think -- wiring/ piping/ mechanical assembly/ therapy for your raw Splicer in the Tenenbaum Rehabilitation and Recovery Clinic/ Lockpicking/ U-Make-It scrounging/Crafting). There are lots of possibilities for such puzzles, who's results feed in to the main game.
A plethora of additional ideas
Another 'player created' asset item type to add :
13) Quests - can be as simple as a new fabrication/repair formula for a piece of useful machinery (U-Make-It) or repair/maintenence mission for some new Terrain situational assembly/installation (lots of maintenance Quests in leaky Rapture). (( EXAMPLE - a leaking window with nice spurting effects and a large puddle, that requires welding repair)) Many Quests follow formulas with simple fill in the blanks (destinations/NPCs involved/NPC dialogs/hints/fetch items/etc) and most of the life of them is the Quest text with story/miniplot/interesting descriptions/motives
. 7b) A behavior AI scripting system for the players own controlled 'Team' NPCs (scripts shareable to other players - applicable to game run NPCs also). They are not 'cheats', but 'instructions' that would keep the players ex-Splicer/BigDaddies and other agents working while the Player is offline (and moving about the city on tasks that would make the city actually LOOK like a city with people in it doing things instead of the talking mannekin NPCs alot of MMORPGs are limited to). Player use -- applying these NPC 'AI' scripts is more like setting parameters (really are plug-ins then with config settings) and picking missions/tasks -- not really 'programming' (they implement flexible if-then logic for decisions, as well as pre-canned condition tests built into the 'Team' mission/task templates.
If I didnt mention it before, the Player review/vetting of all these new Assets is only the first phase -- as the company would then do its own vetting/validation before actually adding them to a running game world.
- Most of these things are built on/recombined from sandboxed 'sub-routine' Templates the company would supply,
- They would NOT allow Cheating or Griefing - only access to the same info and actions a player would have.
- Any 'problem' script content would first be found by the player inspectors/testers who are rewarded for finding errors/disfunctions (in game rewards, not monetarily).
- People who submit intentionally problematic items are afterwards restricted and not allowed to progress onto more complicated/challenging assets.
- a Creator Ramp (leveling) progresses to larger assemblies (complex scenes) made of many small assets -- props/terrain/NPCs/thematic decorations interlinked by scripts/quests/placement rules.
Another aspect for the development effort required to implement the 'player created asset' MMORPG game model --- - the server/client mechanisms and tools can be REUSED for creating other similar MMORPG games (something like half the work would be reapplyable to a second/third/etc game of a similar type
.... example - a X-COM MMORPG game .
Again, an important factor is the production savings ($$$) by using the player created game Assets/content (which IS one of the MAJOR expenses in these MMORPG games), and making possible MMORPG games in niche genres that companies wont touch right now as financially unviable.
SO much the better if the company already has a seed set of Assets from an existing solo game to start the core/prebuilt areas of the map (like Bioshock with 2 games and a bunch of DLC materials).
Normal People again ... :
Rembering the selection of player Avatars from the BS2 MP game -- they look normal -- were from before the heavy splicing became common in Rapture. With the MMORPG's 'Cure' for the negative aspects of the Adam addiction, we would have NPCs once again no longer looking like malignant mutants.
. The 'Cure' of anti-Adam might be again right there in the Sea-Slugs, who dont turn cancerous/behaviorally irregular even though they are full of ADAM. Tenenbaum's solution would mean restoring people back to a more normal state or at least supressing the negative ones - we still want plasmids for the FPS part of this game, though many of the technical ones have greater use in the repair/rebuild/restore overplot.
. Part of the game I would like to see is having the ability to crawl up the walls (maybe not the Player??) Think of how useful to repairs that would be, or to counter 'wild' Splicers in the unreclaimed parts of the City. That would be that 'Cures' wouldnt have to destroy plasmid abilities and there might actually be a reason to safely (via anti-Adam) 'enhance' players/NPCs with NEW abilities/skills/pysicals/intelectuals as was the original vision for the ADAM. On the other hand, players might only have normal abilities but more tools to use.
The external part of the City can be part of the MMORPG. Work ouitside to patch parts of the City and make them water proof again. Gather raw materials to make certain things (Ryan planned to have Rapture 'self sufficient', so there is a lot of industrial stuff laying about somewhere in Rapture, as well as basics like 'Fishing'. There would be areas quite a distance from Rapture city center - mining or oil drilling and outlying industrial/manufacturing or greenhouses in tunnel complexes that are all candidates for player interactions. The Player could use a Big Daddy Suit Skill for external work and/or Submarines and or Bathispheres. The terrain outside need not be that complicated to create, with existing tools like Bryce capable of creating appropriate landscapes for huge areas of the outside ocean floor.
There are wrecked parts of the City which probably never will be restored, but become hunting grounds for salvageable/useable parts and resources (like for large sections of the special Ryanium 'glass' to replace sections blown up by certain people previously, or cracked by sinking airplanes.)
Inner Terrain :
Besides the outside Ocean (and all the fun sealife to fight), there are parts of Rapture we really didnt see that much of --- utility ways to access all kinds of machinery and utility lines :
1) Sewers and their extended facilities, including lots of sumps
2) Fresh water pipes
2) Electric power lines
3) Air circulation conduits/ducting
4) Heating systems from the geothermal core (hot water)
5) Telephone/ Cable TV/ Pneumo Mail
6) Cooling water for machinery (seawater)
7) Transport tunnels to move garbage/goods/maintenance personel
8 ) Fire supression systems
9) Security systems
. All these things in many places have been broken, damaged, disconnected, are submerged, sabatoged/vandalized. The Player would want to restore them bit by bit in his claimed 'project' part of the city, joining up with the restoration efforts of others Key junctions/connections cooperatively restored to bring the City back into existance.
. Major transport systems like the Trolleys and Atlantic Express would be large team efforts (a source of many many sub Quests to rebuilt these large systems section by section)
Vertical transports like elevators and stairwells would also be things to get working again (and give access to new places and adventures).