hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Untapped Potential: The calculation of situations

7:00 PM on 06.30.2009 // Tubatic

[It's time for another Monthly Musing -- the monthly community blog theme that provides readers with a chance to get their articles and discussions printed on the frontpage. -- CTZ

While trying to come up with a good topic, I started in on making a bunch of different blogs. I started one about a Chrono Trigger sequel in my mind that never was and another about the Blues Brothers IP and car chases. I even thought about rehashing a blog article I wrote last year about a Star Trek idea. None of it really took form as a complete thought, and I've yet to throw my hat into the ring for this month's Musing.

However, I think I've been getting at one main idea with all these half starts. In all cases, each IP could benefit from a heaping serving of good old fashioned situational simulation and straight up, by the book, number crunching. While the payout isn't immediate to any investor, putting time into building a great simulation system could revolutionize our play experiences.



Take Chrono Trigger. What turned me on about Chrono Trigger wasn't just the character design or fun combat system. It was the idea that my action had consequence in consideration of time. If you plant a seed, it becomes a tree in a different time. Though limited by narrative situation and scope of project, real results come from meddling on the temporal grid.

What if there was more time to design around that mechanic? What if the death of a character in Pre-Historia was able to change the entire make up of the civilization thousands of years in the future, opening and closing gameplay situations as characters cease to exist or come into being? What if whistling a tune across the world and 30 years prior would inspire a nation's Anthem that could be heard in the present at a colonial outpost? Nuance and minutia, perhaps. But come on. Aside from any narrative, playing with that system would be a true blast.

Certainly, it would be difficult. The game would have to be built around this idea, and then, everything would have to work within the rules of whatever system is established. Situations would have to be considered and calculated, and results, inevitably, would have to be parsed out and normalized to ensure a fun experience. Its just a dream though.

I mean, you'd have to create some way to manage all these objects. You'd have to write a whole system to define how objects and people interact with each other. You'd need to figure out numbers and traits for things, and define types of things and general AI. Worst of all, you'd probably have to take maybe 5 to 10 people to just find and define a huge number of objects to exist in this world. Why, that's insanity. Its just unreal. This could never actually happen in the industry. Not this industry.


Oh right. Scribblenauts is actually happening. This September. On the Nintendo DS.

The core gaming world is losing their collective gourd over Scribblenauts, and with good reason. After years of the guided narrative and the cinematic presentation, feeding on gritty action gaming and accepting the slowing arc toward sport simulation perfection, here comes a database. A nerdgasmic database of 10,000 nouns that all have a meaning and purpose and an incomprehensible combination of computational results. We are shocked, awed and intrigued, but what are we looking at?

What we're looking at is a good idea magnified, smartly, to the nth degree. Not to trivialize the hard work the must have gone into the creation of this evocative wonder-software, but its just the escalation of game system creation. This is not a graphical leap necessitating cell-processors or fan-cooled horsepower. Its numbers on an array of arrays, played out in paperform gameplay.


We could have been playing with Scribbles and Time Lines generations ago. The untapped potential is simply clever systems, my friends. I think we had that in simulations like Civilization or SimCity at least 10 years ago! Imagine moving ever forward to the smarter simulation with more ways to process numbers and situational data. What if we had gone to macro with this system design structure? What if, instead of graphics and networking, the medium delved farther into bolstering simulations and gameplay-relevant calculation years ago?

We'll never know. But we're bound to draw a new conclusion in the coming months. Once people get turned on to what Scribblenauts does, and how it does it, we're likely to see a whole new way of thinking when it comes to game design and execution. Lets just hope that at least one inspired individual will look to create a consequential time traveling world. The possibilities (and paradoxes) are endless.


Tubatic,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

El Dango avatarEl Dango
I'm Mr. Cool Ice, and you are too. No... he's the two of us together.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
You all need to quit dropping the f-bomb so much. #fart
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm ashamed of you all.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I keep forgetting that today is Saturday. I almost never have a Saturday off so it feels like a week day to me 8/
El Dango avatarEl Dango
I see a lot of people texting at the gym. Seems like a bad idea to bring your phone to a place full of heavy objects.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
♪You've gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to blame them, know when to walk away, know when to run ♪#fart
nanashi avatarnanashi
PStoid #30 records today, you still have a little time to ask questions!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I can now play the first 20 measures of Little Trinketry at full speed. It ends when you start playing chords with the right hand. Also something about carts #passdatgas [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
According to fart scientists, the rate of intestinal gas escaping through the anus increases when regular sleep patterns are not observed.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I farted a lot during Mad Max Fury Road. I blamed them on the engines.
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
A fart says more than a thousand words.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
A fart a day keeps the doctor away.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why can't we have more Lovecraftian horror games? It's such a great setting, but nobody ever uses it.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Best purchase I've made in a long time. This little remote controlled BB-8 robot by Sphero is amazing. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/bb8%202.jpg~original[/IMG]
gajknight avatargajknight
I fart, therefore I am.
extatix avatarextatix
Working on my next collection blog and holy shit, I should sell some stuff already.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
My first word was "fart".
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Philosophical question: if the only way to get Batman: Arkham Knight to run decently on my laptop is to lower all the settings and have it run windowed, am I really playing it?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm farting right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I farted in Gamestop today and wasn't blamed!
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -