Zombies: Dialog and Quests

After mulling over the ideas in this post over at nerfbat, I thought I’d tackle it as it concerns my game design.

How would I present dialog? Well, thankfully I get out of part of it in that my only NPCs are the undead and all they do is moan. Of course, that brings up an interesting idea of do I display the moans as text or just audio that gets louder the closer they are and the larger the crowd? I like the idea of audio, even directional audio, but there might need to be an option to turn on text, just incase deaf people might want to play and not play as a deaf person. It is a role playing game, after all.

But if there are no NPCs, how will there be quests?

To understand the drive of the game, you have to understand the backbone driving force of the game: the tamagotchi.

Essentially, its a much more complicated version of that simple child’s toy… but if you boil it down, so is life and my Zombie MMO is really nothing more than a Life Simulator in a world of the undead. SimRomero, if you will.

Your character will have a stat sheet where you can monitor and manage things like how much you eat per day and how that affects your energy levels and overall health. You’ll be able to see how long your food supplies will last given your rate of consumption, and a projection of how long you will last without food given your current level of health. There might also be things like progression bars toward dementia, which can be reduced by human contact or reading books or listening to music, basically anything other than dealing with zombies.

So where are the quests? In a way there will be two sorts of quest like devices in the game…

The first will be player designed, largely including trade. If you have a stash of salt, a ton of it, and you have a need for other supplies, you will be able to set up a trade mission where you will trade X salt for Y other product until you have Z of said product. Players who stumble upon your safehaven while you are offline will be met at gunpoint and offered the quest. It will jot down in their notebook what you are looking for and what you will give for it. The twist here is that since you can specify a cut off point, like say you want oranges, 6 at a time, stopping when you have 4 dozen, its possible that player may find 6 oranges, return to you and find that you’ve already hit your limit of 4 dozen and are no longer taking oranges in trade. But that’s okay, its not a total waste since he can use the oranges himself, or in another trade.

The second will be presented in a “kill sheet” style, where you can earn Xbox360 style achievements by doing things. Kill 100 undead and you might get a title. A second title might be waiting at 500, a third at 2000, and so on. Have you been well fed for the past 30 days? Title. Killed another player? Title. Killed 100 other players? Title. Survived for a year? Title. You get the idea… As part of this, the game will include online profiles of players through the website, even the ability to make message board signatures that will include your stats (like the Xbox gamer tags). And of course, the system will include an options for hiding your profile completely, or making it viewable only to people logged in and on your friends list.

It sounds overly simplistic, I’m sure, but that’s the goal of the game: simple and fun. I don’t need to be a WoW-killer, I just want enough people playing so that maybe I can quit my “real” job.

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