I’ll admit it, I’m a game junkie. But I’m also a creative thinker, and if you’re anything like me, as most players are, no matter how good a game is we always have our own ideas on how to make it better.
For example, some of my long term readers might remember this post DYNAMIC LANDSCAPES. TL;DR? RTS style AI working towards goals from a random objective pool.
We all have ideas.
For years, I’ve approached companies like Sony Online Entertainment with my ideas. I was a day one Star Wars Galaxies vet (RIP), and very active in the community there, so figured my voice might get heard. It didn’t of course. Heck, I even managed to get a small contract from Lucasarts and still couldn’t get my voice heard.
So, being Canadian, I tried to approach an up and coming Canadian Gaming House called Bioware. They had one or two good games at the time, but of course, my voice wasn’t heard.
Over the years I’ve made contacts with various game companies like Electronic Arts, CCP, and others, but the result is always the same:
Nobody wants to hear your ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Create your idea into a working prototype, then show us.
It’s like every client I’ve ever dealt with. They need to see it to get it. So I’ve built several prototypes over my career in the hopes of maybe one day seeing my own game design ideas realized. So far, no luck.
I’d even thought of going on my own, getting some venture capital backing, and produce my vision that way. I acquired very practical experience about Venture Capitalism during that time, and just how much work is involved in getting someone else to invest money in you. Needless to say, that avenue didn’t work out for me either.
Nowadays, things are different. There is a little website called Kickstarter.com. This wonderful little website basically allows you to pitch your idea, maybe even showcase your prototype, and if people are interested, they’ll invest some money in you. If enough people are interested, you will have a cash pool in which to pursue your business. Simple, effective, smart, and just one of the many things I love about the way technology has caused a shift in the way people think.
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
If you’re here at my blog, chances are you know I’m a fiction writer. I enjoy good writing, especially good science fiction. I won’t tell you my favourite authors, as we all have our opinions, and this thread isn’t meant to start a discussion on whom is the better writer, but the point is that I enjoy good writing.
So what is good writing to me? It’s in the details, the author’s ability to drag me into their vision, allowing me to feel as if I’m part of their lore. The story has to move, it can’t be stagnant with too much detail, or move so quickly that I really don’t feel a part of it. To find this balance is a challenge for sure. I’ve read some series that could’ve been done in one book instead of ten, had they removed a lot of the unnecessary details. I’ve read other books that should’ve been expanded into a series, adding more details to flesh out their world a little more, to make me believe it exists.
This is what I enjoy most about Star Wars, Eve Online, and even can appreciate about Star Trek, though I’m not a fan. They all have extensive universes that are very well fleshed out, giving me an extensive guideline as to what I can, and cannot, do in my own fictional writing within those universes.
Take Roc for example. CCP has created such a vast tapestry for New Eden, that not only do I know all the cultural and historical histories of the Minmatar, but I know about current events through the RP RSS feeds, I know about politics, I know about the Brutor Tribe, I know about the current war efforts; I know a lot of things.
I know that Roc can die outside of his pod. I know much about the lore of pods, and capsuleers. I know a lot about Roc.
But it is also difficult to maintain lore. The more extensive it becomes, the more writers become involved, the greater the chance of inconsistencies being introduced. As readers, as players, we’re quick to jump all over that kind of thing.
For example, in Tony G’s latest novel, Templar One, there are a couple of things that irk me personally: one scientific character refers to the fibonacci patterns on the floor of a Sleeper station. How would anyone from the timeline of New Eden know what the hell a fibonacci sequence is? They wouldn’t, but it’s not critical to anything, and doesn’t really break the story. It simply breaks my suspension of disbelief in the lore of New Eden, and I find that bothersome.
Another example, also from Templare One, is Empress Sarum Jamyl talking with a character about fame and power, about being known internationally … really? Your fame and power extends internationally, your majesty? What about the millions of lives you mentioned earlier, and your vast empire of planets? Ugh. Little things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really enjoying Templar One. I’m just trying to make a point.
But I am seriously digressing on what my intended topic was.
Basically, my aim is to create a science fiction MMO. But I’m going to forgo having any backstory. I refuse to create such a rich lore for my universe. In fact, my game isn’t going to have any features either, as I refuse to have my efforts criticized from players that are never satisfied.
Essentially, it’s going to be nothing but a login screen with a lengthy queue, and then a text based chat engine, without emoticons. What will make it really sexy is the name restricting algorithm I have nearly perfected. Take a look at the screenshot below:
That’s right. This entire post was crap simply to make the point that players are idiots. The amount of time, money and effort some of these game companies spend creating their universes, and we decide the best roleplay name we can come up with is Hugh Wang (yes, I’m looking at you Rens local).
Seriously, it’s pathetic, says the guy named Roc Wieler. But at least I came up with a backstory for my name!
The least we can do to respect these universes is take two or three minutes to create a suitable name. I mean, EVE Online even has a random surname generator!
Or try this:
- merge your first and last name – Mine is Marcus Dickinson, so Mardic. Not perfect, but not bad.
- change the vowels in your first name – Morcis, that’s pretty cool.
- change the order of your name – Sucram, hahah, ok that’s not much better.
- use a random name generator
Did that really take ANY effort? No. So please, next time you join a game, don’t be an idiot. Think of an actual sci-fi sounding name and give my facepalming a break. My forehead grows sore.