Game Design Thoughts

In my mind, most developers seem to design games back to front these days. So cornered by the publisher’s demands to maximize on the trends, they’re churning out permutations of a current formula entirely on purpose. The advertising is a dead givaway of this mentality; it’s some other game, but this time with aliens. Or cowboys. No, wait, it’s probably still just WW2.

Rather than to take a game that’s done already and think of what you can tag onto it to make it different (the ‘EA approach’?), I think the best way to come up with a design is to think of something that would be fun to do then turn it into a game (the Wonderous Child approach).

Spore (despite its publisher) is a good example of the latter: Will Wright didn’t think “lets combine Pacman, Populous, Civilization and GalCiv 2 and figure out a theme for it”. It was clearly more a case of “lets make a game about evolution, because the Discovery Channel is cool”. More designers need to go back to this. There are so many great experiences games could be giving us if they could halt making WW2 shooters for just five minutes.

A list of awesome things no game lets you do yet*:
– Freely explore a human body in a microscopic ship like in Innerspace
– Offer a ‘crew camaraderie’ experience running a small ship/spaceship online
– Let you experiment building an orbital vehicle (at a component-placing level) to try and reach space

(*) – As far as I’m aware, anyhow


Feb 2016: Since this post was made, we now have Kerbal Space Program, of course! Space Engineers is the closest to the second one; I don't think Star Citizen will hit what I had in mind, either.

Exploring human bodies as a microsub is still lacking, though... if anyone sees one, I'd love to check it out.

Liang Wave Theory

Changing the timeline causes it to, in simple terms, wobble (rather than simply veer off), as exhibited in Liang Oscillation. The study of this is called Liang Wave Theory. It is thought the shape of the 5th ‘Meta-dimension‘ is what determines the nature of this wave. The 5th Meta-Dimension is essentially a modelling of the change in spacetime (although not strictly a dimension as such). Spacetime’s “path” is determined by the varying warp of the fabric of spacetime, producing a sort of shape of probability. It is thought that this warping is what determines the largely unknown specifics of Quantum States.

Different effects (such as a time traveller’s presence) can change spacetime’s path, but curvature of the meta-dimension largely determines its overall path. Like a river meandering through the trough of least resistance, if it is diverted it will still follow the groove of the terrain. I won’t delve further into fourth and fifth dimensions just now; suffice to say it’s the realm within which the Liang effect manifests itself.

The other important thing to note about Liang oscillation is that on occasion changes can cause time to alter its event flow completely, almost ‘jumping out of the trough’ to a whole new path. This abrupt and permanent change is called a Liang Cascade, and although it remains only a theory, there is no possible way of proving if one has or hasn’t happened already. They are considered a Chrononaut’s worst-case-scenario, as a Liang Cascade¬†will alter the future on an irrevocable, unrecognisable new course.