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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Project Uncanny Valley

Lightbulb Project Uncanny Valley

May 23rd, 2013, 03:40
Hello Watch,

First a little about me.
I am a long time lurker for years. I have decided to join finally for two reasons.
1. The resent success of the Kickstarter projects, TTON and DD:OS come to mind. Has convinced me that the Decline in gaming is trending down,finally.
2. My involvement with the project I will describe below.

I have got to know a number of you by your posts over the years and I hope you approve with what I will write here. (DArtagnan shhhh)

I am here to introduce on the Watch and the Codex(I'm there too) the following Indie Project.
Key Points 1
  1. Graphical Mud-Like(Graphics forthcoming after investors)
  2. Simulation First, Game second
  3. No teh Epic Quest(*unless you make one or fall into one)
  4. Living World(What part of Simulation do you not get)
  5. C&C where even the gods may move in mysterious ways to thwart your royal ascension
  6. You wont know the difference between Npcs and Pcs unless you ask
  7. Insane amount of characterization(200 classes at last count)
  8. ROLE-PLAY vrs ROLL-PLAY
  9. THIS IS EARLY ALPHA
  10. more to come

This project consists of me and my friend who is lead programer and who I will simply call Ken, he is a bit shy,but the proverbial eccentric genius. Seriously 180 IQ.
Below is a series of questions to help introduce this project,he is answering,his exact words, and I add some clarification if needed.

I am trying to gauge interest and I humbly ask for feedback.

1.What is the status of the game?
Most of this is early Alpha.I don’t have the time tables worked out, but full commercial operation is possible no sooner than November.

2.Is this a MUD-like game?
Yes! The base is a simulated real time running world. Players just take over and control NPCs to advance them. NPC go on and do their own things. The art of AI!

3.Is this totally browser based?
NO! It is possible to do some of it browser based, but the graphics requirements makes this not practical.
We will download core elements of the Blender 3D game engine, which I have the full source code for, and use this as are Rendering engine. Doing the graphics over the internet is just not possible. The whole package will take up 2.5 GB on the Client system. And first it must be decided what the client can handle. The Best machines will have Radiosity, the bad ones will have diplong. Non will have just wire frame, but it is an option(also for cellphone)

4.Is this d20 under open gaming license or DnD based?
No, it is not d20. It is under an open license, but not based on pre-existing systems. This was not designed as a game, but rather as a simulation, of what if this world really did exist, and what would the world look like and how it would behave. This game will evolve as time goes on. My goal was not to build a great game, but a simulation where things operate as a new universe. I don’t have any huge story lines, or modules. Things play out how they play out. Players add a depth to this model, and will be able to advance better when they spend money to buy things like property, homes, specializations and such. We are not taking their world or rules. Such would not really work well for us. Our system is not based upon theirs, and theirs is rather pointless. (However does borrow key concepts from D&D and other systems)

5.Is this based on Oceania(home-brew pen and paper campaign)?
In part, yes. But not completely. Oceania did have a well-defined set of plots and missions, and was finite. This was not a game first, but a simulation first, and a game second.

6. Investors?
I don’t know about investors, basically, we can do all the work ourselves until we reach art level, once we reach this level, then we have issues. What we want is out there, but we must either contract it, or buy it.(we are currently looking for investors)

7.Please briefly describe game system.
This is a system that is self-evolving. You don’t need to have story plots, or write modules, the system evolves these all by itself. Player can by default get certain basic Races and Classes, or buy better ones. The can hire the services of NPCs or even other players. They gain experience and grow. Different Races and Classes fit the differing Eco Systems. And there is not only Magic, Supernatural, but technology too.This System requires several levels and independent systems. The Player Side Rendering Engine is a huge part of this. It is mostly code from Blender 3D and legal, that is providing the muscle to make the graphics work. We are able to provide for Windows/Mac/Unix/Linus platforms. Most of the Graphics and Audio data is also stored on the Client side.The Client is expected to handle the weight of this graphical experience.The Rest are all sever side programs, MS-SQL database and such. They manipulate data and decide random events. This is now the world of the MATRIX!!! Human Clients and NPC all get and use the same data, and have the same abilities and restrictions based upon class, race, and special attributes. The Players get the graphical experiences, but to the game, all are the same.

8.Are Pcs generated separately?
Yes PC’s are created using an external generator, this only happens for PCs, and they are derived from MPCs.

9.What is the difference between PCs and NPCs?
This is a real world type simulation. It is not a module or pre-layed out game. Players are basically just npc’s that can choose their own race, class, and such; and take over for the AI functions. Beyond this, they are no different than NPC’s.

10.What is the gameplay like?
This works not as a game, but rather is derived from the simulation. This is not all about the player, but rather about the environment. You have a bunch of NPC that start out at low levels, and they grow. This is about living in a real world and being able to do what you would be able to do as if you actually lived there. The NPC’s, and the world environment create the scene, as do other players. Things happen based on random actions of NPC’s, the world environment, and based upon lack of actions or actions of other players.
In this simulation, you have lots of things that progress based upon the environment, and not letting things get out of control should be a players priority. For example, if you leave the Kobolds alone, and they have food, and such over time, they will reproduce to produce a huge problem, over run a world or at least cause huge problems. Should a group be wiped out, then they don’t reproduce, and while they will randomly be re-introduced from time to time, they can easily be controlled.

11. Combat heavy or ROLE-PLAYING?
This is not about just combat, as every player and NPC has their role to play. Magic items must be found or made. But no random treasures exist! The NPC’s must actually have the treasures to loot them. Food must be found, grown, raised, or created. Yes, you can buy food at the store, but it is about supply and demand. Everyone needs food NPC’s and players. Of course, the Undead don’t, and nor do constructs. But we can get into that later. Most living creatures without food will die. Air and water are also nice most of the time too.

12.Briefly Describe the AI.
Both players and NPCs work on a series of information and decision making engines. Players are NPC’s that the players can override decisions for. NPC’s hire the services of other NPC’s, and players can do this too. Players can also be hired by NPCs.Both the players and the NPCs build the store, as each world or island group is unique. They build homes, castles, forts, caverns, boats, armor, etc… Even the Gods are NPCs.

13. Describe Character Generation.
Players are NPCs, but they are created by humans, and controlled mostly by humans. The player can define many characteristics. When creating a Playing Character, the player must first choose his race, as this defines most of the other central attributes. After this is done, he/she has a series of choices for classes, and not just the normal classes, but from a wider list more apt to the real world. Using both Race and Class data, the NPC is randomly generated as a NPC, but under the control of the Player. The player will then choose alignment, clan, sub-race features, sub-class features, personality, and automatic behaviors for when the player is not online. Those willing to spend money will be able to get better races, classes, and sub-types, but equipment, housing, food, etc…

I recently conducted an 3 hour interview with him by skype. And that was just on Character stats and just skimmed the surface.
Hopefully I will be conducting another one tomorrow, and when I get the the time to do so transcribe it to post,in sections.

If people are interested.

So tell me , Do you want to hear more?

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
― Benjamin Franklin
Last edited by Doctor Psitronix; May 23rd, 2013 at 04:47. Reason: to clarify
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May 23rd, 2013, 07:48
Sounds interesting and very ambitious - tell us about your progress!

Maybe you should start with some smaller design goals first?

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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May 23rd, 2013, 09:03
I'm very interested. This sounds right up my ally. I would very much like to hear more.
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May 23rd, 2013, 11:21
I am always interested in project pusihing the simulation / emergent gameplay side of things. Less so in MUD / Multiplayer context, but well. sounds ambitious especially for a 2 person project, but then it reminds me a bit of Dwarf Fortrss, and that was a one man project too.

A few questions:
- What kind of world / setting? Medival fantasy? Something else?
- What's the world scale you are shooting for?
- Graphical MUD - what kind of graphics do you envison. Tilesets? 2D? 3D? Isometric/ First Person? What existing game is closest to what you want it to look like?
- Player characters are NPC - does that mean they'll continue to roam the world and do their thing when I am not logged in? Do I even play the same character in different play sessions?
- You are early alpha? Show something!


And: welcome!
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May 23rd, 2013, 20:57
Yeah I'm interesting in hearing more about it too - I like seeing where full-on simulationism in the RPG field can lead. Still seems a relatively untapped area.

I've very curious how this project would look and play - if you could post some in-progress screenshots, mock-ups, or footage that would be great.
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May 23rd, 2013, 22:53
GhanBuriGhan

- What kind of world / setting? Medival fantasy? Something else?
The world is the size of Jupiter. Roughly. It has a barren dead dry, and for the purposes of the game world, non-exsistent exterior surface. It is hollow and the interior has a small (about 1/2 the size of the earths moon) wight star at it's heart. The star provides all the light and heat for the world. The star has orbiting it black bands of unknown substance that shift and at times block the light of the star creating a Night/Day cycle,this also allows all the neat visual effects the engine can handle. there are also moons of roughly the same material that obit the star and produce effects on the inhabitants of the world like the moons of Kyrann.
On the inside of the the planet shell is a MASSIVE Ocean, dotted with islands, some very far apart.
These islands start at launch for the most part isolated and only grow aware of each other as the world evolves(there are of NPCs who know otherwise but a are very few and far in-between) The islands will start primitive with knowledge of other islands being unknown or forbidden to speak of, this includes knowledge of sailing and shipbuilding greater then coast-huggers.
Let me be very clear,THIS WORLD IS ALIVE AND EVOLVES!
But the current bias within the system is the strong push to evolve towards MAGIC and Medieval fantasy.
However Prehistoric,ancient,steam,modern, and futuristic settings and objects are supported AND present within the game system(they just wont be fully accessible till expansions) some islands will evolve in that direction and some artifacts from prior civilizations will be present at launch.
Each island is a laboratory.
Oh almost forgot the world is tapered on the ends some like an egg to allow polar regions,yes all terrain types and weather systems.

- What's the world scale you are shooting for?
Like I said almost the size of Jupiter, possibly 8400 islands generated(not including extra-planer and underwater locations)and each island is about 30 square miles in size average.But feels bigger due to virtual scaler terrain.

- Graphical MUD - what kind of graphics do you envison. Tilesets? 2D? 3D? Isometric/ First Person? What existing game is closest to what you want it to look like?
First off it is MUD-Like
THIS IS NOT A MUD!
That was a point of reference.
Secondly,
Anywhere from AAA+ to wire-frame. It depends on YOUR system. We can and will support 3D. All of this is based off of opensorce BLENDER3D and we have created specialized technologies to take advantage of that and render this project. I will get into that more later.
The perspective is by default 1st person I think but the camera can be adjusted.
I will get into the graphics more later.

- Player characters are NPC - does that mean they'll continue to roam the world and do their thing when I am not logged in? Do I even play the same character in different play sessions?
Yes,however you can set the behavior of the characters while you are away. This is a PERSISTENT world. Again yes you just take over him or her or it again.

As to showing off something.
ON IT.
Spoke to Ken this morning, we will see what we can do. Please understand neither of us are artists that is what we will look for funding for later. Please be patient.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
― Benjamin Franklin
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May 24th, 2013, 00:28
So this is a multiplayer online game?
What kind of business model are you looking at?
And what does this mean:
Player can by default get certain basic Races and Classes, or buy better ones.
Do you mean "buy with ingame currency", or real world money?
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May 24th, 2013, 02:13
So this is a multiplayer online game?
Yes- this is online only the client mainly to use your system to do the rendering.
But it is a PERSISTENT World too. You log off then your character becomes AI controlled till you log back in. However you can set the behavior patterns and set commands for when you log off so that your character can then do what you planed.(Edit) for the mos part…
What kind of business model are you looking at?
simply put what you wrote below that question. you can buy better options. This does not prevent you from playing the basic options or make them unplayable,only that you can buy more fun stuff to play with.
This is going to be a massive world which will require real world monies.
the reasoning is in my Codex posts, please go read them or wait for me to copy paste here

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
― Benjamin Franklin
Last edited by Doctor Psitronix; May 24th, 2013 at 02:47.
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May 24th, 2013, 10:10
Thanks for the answers. While I like your idea for the world / cosmology (I liked the Ringworld series), to be honest it sounds way too large and overambitious.

I at least hope you were speaking figuratively regarding "the size of Jupiter". According to Wofram Alpha (finally a fun way to use that thing!), the surface area of Jupier is 6.15 x 10^10 km ^2
Which equates to 8.91 km^2 per person currently living on planet earth (6.9 billion). Assuming you have only about 1% land mass, that is still just about 22 acres per person. And I am really not sure you want to create 6.9 billion NPC to surround the 10.000 or so potential player base
[/nerdiness]

If something on that scale can even be realized and simulated in realtime, it would still result in little-needed sprawl and random generated sameness. Not to speak of spreading players incredibly thin in a world that size (unless it's like 99.999 % Ocean, which would raise the question what a world that large would be good for ).

My advice would be to cut way back on scale and huge amounts of everything (classes, spells, whatnot…) and focus on creating an interesting world and interesting interactions resulting from the simulated behaviors.

Good luck.
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May 24th, 2013, 22:56
it does sound ambitious. have you done anything like this before?

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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May 25th, 2013, 22:48
it does sound ambitious. have you done anything like this before?
me not like this.
Ken at the other hand is old hat.VERY old hat

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