One Page Concept: Discovery

September 8, 2010

I figure I’m overdue to put some new content here, so here’s something to mull over. Exploration is the central focus of the game, many games which lean heavily on exploration as part of the gameplay have done, shall we say, rather well. The Myst series, World of Warcraft, The Fallout Series, The Elder Scrolls series. We do love exploration, us gamers.


A game of exploration

Goals: The players’ role is effectively that of a cartographer, and must explore the continent/island whilst attempting to achieve four main goals/achievements:

1. Discover all the places of importance – Something to tell the children.

2. Find a mate – For a lasting legacy (Different partners have different requirements before they’ll like you, though maybe that’s a bit old fasioned. Examples might be, chase a fallen star, like out of Star Dust, or protect the local wildlife from some threat)

3. Earn (Amount) – Retirement is expensive

4. Buy/Build a house – Have someone to settle down following your exploits

The above are the main ‘achievements’ to be pursued in the game, there are also minor achievements which can help enable completion of the major achievements. Notice that whilst there is combat as an option, it’s intended to be mostly out of the way, creatures wandering the wilderness will generally be tame or only aggressive when defending territory, aggressive monsters will only be found in dungeons/deep-caves and you don’t have to go inside one to ‘discover’ it, just find the entrance.

The game plays in first person, though it might be wise to move to third person for any close quarters combat with swords (etc). The game will fit well with console systems that require ‘achievement’ functionality as choosing and achieving goals is the primary focus of the game.

Possible places to discover by type:

Man made – Fortresses (Some abandoned), Pirate Cove(?), Villages/Towns, The Great Bridge, Lighthouse, Quarry, All piers.

Coastal – Island, Beach, Coastal Cave, (Coastal) Cliff face, Archipelago,

Inland – Mountain peak, Cave, Glade, Cliff face, Tar pit, valleys, Mountain walkway, fallen star landing site.

Inland water – Waterfall, Fjord, Marsh/Swamp, Lake/Pool/Pond, Oasis

Possible professions the player can pursue (Note that adventuring can involve killing and finding things as either/or):

Finding things – Hunting, gathering (berries etc), Archaeology, Adventuring, Mining, Thieving(?)

Creating things – Smithing, Woodworking/Carpentry, Farming

Killing things – Bounties (Hunting Criminals), Adventuring

Smuggling(Illegal goods)/Trading

Unlike many roleplaying games, this isn’t a land that’s under threat from some great big evil. In a way, it’s a game-ified medieval life simulator.


3 Responses to “One Page Concept: Discovery”

  1. Isaak Says:

    So, you’re creating this entire world, with emphasis on exploration, but I feel you’re not really doing anything with it.

    Three of your four goals for instance don’t have anything to do with exploration (or so it seems).

    While reading I didn’t get the ‘first-person’ part and I was envisioning a 2D, isometric kinda game.
    With a fog of war to ‘remove’.

    *Achievement Unlocked: removed all fog.” For instance.

    I’m just firing off thoughts here, though.

    • Robert Farr Says:

      The problem with a fog of war is that I’d like players to see something in the distance, say a waterfall, gazebo or a mountain peak and to want to go there, and be able to do so.

      Underneath it all I felt that there needed to be a world that has a certain amount of believability so that you feel as though you’re exploring a world rather than a hollow shell. That means having people, professions to at least some degree and a variety of things to work towards. Granted, doing the professions themselves don’t count as exploring, but without them the world might seem rather empty (Though I suppose you could strip a lot of that out and show citizens of towns performing those functions, certainly farming is a bit of problem as rapid crop growth would break believability, but if players can see the AI doing that stuff, they might want to get in on the act as well).

      That’s pretty much how I came to the conclusions found in the document.

      • Isaak Says:

        Perhaps it has to do with the tone or… ‘feel’ it emenates, the concept I mean.

        Or it could be the mindset I’m currently in.

        Maybe throw in a few adjectives, give a mental image of what the world will be like.

        “A world which evokes curiosity and wonder and invites players to explore the… err… stuff.”

        Maybe illustrate the ‘word of mouth’ effect.
        Player overhears talk about treasure in area x, great adventure unfolds but player isn’t aware of the scale.

        Less in your face, more… self-paced discovery.
        Which I kinda like.

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