So I mentioned in my last post that I gave myself the dubious gift of making a game. I guess I should expand on that a bit.
"Oh, wait," I imagine someone might hypothetically say, "if you tell us too much, someone might steal your game!" Considering that everybody has a dream game, I imagine that this supposed someone will likely make their dream game before they decide to make mine. Besides, the only reason I want to make a game is because nobody seems to want to make it for me. If I end up being able to play more than one game that is my dream game, isn't that better? So, frankly, idea theft here, when it is just an idea, is not a concern. Many game devs say the same thing: everybody has ideas. There's really no risk of someone swooping in and taking yours. And even if they do; ideas aren't things. If someone takes your idea, hey, you've still got your idea.
That all aside, let's explore what I've decided I dream about. See, ever since I was a kid, I've dreamed of two games. The first was a platformer, with 3D models and environments, but in an orthoganol perspective, so it still behaved like a traditional 2D platformer (keep in mind, that this was right when 3D was just starting to be a thing; so I was already being optimistic about the technology). When I got into my teens, Duke Nukem: The Manhattan Project came out. Hell yeah, dream come true. It's awesome when somebody makes your dream game. So maybe someday I'll explore that dream too, but frankly, I feel like I was given a great gift with TMP. That means I'm focusing on the other game dream: a science fiction RPG. A true RPG, set in a sci-fi universe.
When I say "true RPG," I mean it. In recent years, that field has been somewhere between vacant and lonely. Mass Effect is about the only thing that fits in that category, and it isn't everything I could want in the game of my dreams -- but I'll save my gripes for another post or a video. There's fantasy RPGs a plenty, but science fiction is pretty rare. Maybe it's harder -- it takes more world-building work to make up something that's supposed to be a projection of the future rather than a whole-cloth universe (though I'm doing "future projection sci-fi" myself, it occurs to me that there's no rule that you couldn't do your sci-fi setting from whole cloth either; the X series kind of sort of does this). Science fiction seems reserved for "action RPGs," which actually means "action game with a couple largely meaningless stats and a pointless inventory system." That's not what I want. I want a game where you actually play a character, solve problems in-character, talk to other characters in-character, and have to make hard decisions as you guide someone down a narrative path of at least partially your own choosing. Shadowrun, Fallout, and the upcoming Wasteland 2 kind of scratch that itch, but I want something set in more of the Spacefuture, rather than post-apocalypse or just near-ish future cyberpunk (much as I like cyberpunk). So I feel like I am going to have to do this myself in order to get it done.
I've always been enamored by what I used to call "three-quarters isometric perspective." Visually, I still can't get over Ultima 8 and Crusader: No Remorse. So I think I'm going to shoot for a visual style not unlike those. But the science fiction RPG that always sticks in my head, what I'm going to try to honor "spiritually," as it were, is MegaTraveller: The Zhodani Conspiracy. It was a phenominal RPG, with a fun adventure hook, Traveller's crazy character creation system, and a great combination of both on-planet and off-planet movement. Maybe it's just my nostolgia, but the game was very formative for me. I'd like to honor that experience, with some tweaks and choices of my own. So that's kind of what I'm aiming for.
And let's be honest: I'm making this game for me. If nobody else likes it but I do, then I'll be a little disappointed, but still happy. After all, I made my dream and it was good for me. If other people like it, so much the better. I'm setting this in a universe I invented when I was 14, so for now, I'm going to start with the name I came up with for it then. Will the name change? Maybe, I dunno. But for now, it'll do: Threatened Destiny.