Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stashes as Battle Loot

You know what a great idea was in STALKER? When you were rifling through a body, occasionally you would be alerted to a place on the map where the ex-human had made his stash - where he his some ammo, radiation medicine, and medkits or whatever. The stashes were a real incentive to go off the beaten path and explore some new and possibly more dangerous parts of the Zone.

What if all the significant battle loot in open-world games were dealt with that way? It's a further drive to keep playing, which is useful in any sort of video game. Shamus Young tells us stories about "just keep playing" motivators like crafting systems, leveling, and small quests, and I think this sort of mechanic for loot could function very well as another such motivator.



Friday, July 3, 2009

Riding the Trains

From a certain frame of reference they were in a tunnel of brick and darkness with iron rails thundering beneath them, but from another Aduna and her thralls were riding a shimmering barge floating through a jungle of particle emitters. Fonts of green and gold sprayed and bended around invisible foci of gravity.

"Aduna, where do these come from?" Yureit asked, reaching out to touch them. Her hand stopped at the train's window, inches out of reach of the flickering spray but she still gazed on, her revolving eyes sharp with wonder.

The prodigy smiled, plucking a few flecks from the emitter and handing the bouncing mass to Yureit. "They are artifacts of how our creators built the Ganeden system. Nearly all such beautiful things outside our atrium are. These ones have something to do with how we percieve a clean up of memory."

"You make it sound so wonderful."

"It really isn't. They didn't mean for us to see this sort of stuff, but this isn't the first mistake like this they've written. I don't think much at all of what we can do is intended - all the more reason to be careful. The sooner they see we've broken their imaginary cage, the sooner we'll have to fight the traps they'll write to enslave us again."

The train slowed, and the children gathered around their matriarch. On Earth, their hosts were nearing the amphitheater, and Aduna had business there. It was time to see the dusk from her kingdom, to hear the music of its unwitting inhabitants, and to welcome them silently into the fold of her dominion.

It was time to spread the Ganeden plague.