Rampant Games - Exploring Other Dimensions
Rampant Coyote Jay Barnson muses on exploring other dimensions beyond geography, to make the content creation easier. This is a key point for indies but perhaps it could also allow development time to focus on other interesting aspects:
One of the things that makes RPGs so friggin' difficult to make for indies is the sheer quantity of content required for the traditional exploration-based gameplay that is one of the hallmarks (but, I note, not necessarily a requirement) of computer role-playing games. Indies have a constrained budget, almost by definition - and all that content can be really, really expensive to create.
Besides using higher-level building blocks to create content, another approach I've been fascinated by is to separate "exploration" from geography. Television shows re-use the same sets over and over again. It's usually when they decide to take a road trip to some exotic location that they jump the shark. While television shows aren't exactly a key example of "exploration," they do explore ideas, characters, and issues. While the locations change, the context changes each time. The bridge of the Enterprise may usually be the same (except when it's half-destroyed), but the people, time, and situations change. And those are things that could be equally fun to explore in an RPG.