Monday, December 01, 2008

Basics of a Game World

It's all in the crystals. Really, it is. Crystals have the intrinsic ability of being associated with magical powers, and nobody will ever question a crystal's abilities, because hey, you don't know what they can do.

So if I decide that, say, crystals have the ability to store energy, nobody will question it; it's such a basic concept that it would actually be accepted without any complain. With this, you can make energy your currency - it is transferred easily from crystal to crystal, taken as life energy from the bodies of slain foes, even discharged from items with magical potential.

Once you've established that crystals hold energy, you can make them do plenty of things with it. Want to travel to a remote location? Use energy. Want to enchant an item? Use energy. Died and need to be transported someplace safe? Use energy, if you have any. Every action could have an energy cost or benefit, and it would make a lot more sense than magically converting gold pieces to labor or materials.

Now, we're back to the crystals. See, crystals can do more than store energy - they can be your essential traveling accessory and companion. The crystal provides the game interface, opening holographic windows in front of your character in response to your keystrokes. It contains its own dimension, allowing you to store items as if it was a proverbial hero's almost endless backpack; better yet, with the proper training, material and, of course, energy, you can increase its capacity to suit your growing needs!

Your life crystal is what lets you send messages to far away people. It shows you direction and your surrounding. It records every location to which you have been so that you may travel there again. It knows the name of all your friends and records every last bit of information you might need - not to mention having access to an exhaustive library containing every relevant information one could want. It is your crystal that first greets you in the morning, and the last thing you will see and hear before falling asleep is what you programmed your crystal to show and sing to you.

Do you see the beauty? It's a simple system that encompasses concepts of MMORPGs that have stayed with us so long but which always seemed a bit out of place, as if they were added without much forethought about the impossibility of their presence. With a single concept, a single word, you can have a world that makes sense, from the first shiny to the last dragon; it's a self-contained world, all ready to be explored.

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