Encounter Win Conditions
here's a quick peek into what i'm working on: player authored content.
so. basically, it breaks down to some basic building blocks like i've outlined before. eventually, it comes down to describing an encounter.
now, an encounter can really be anything. think of it as a 'scene' in the movies. a particular 'event' happening at a particular 'location' with particular 'objects.' now, keep in mind that players can author (craft) anything in the world they want. creatures, weapons, cooking utensils — whatever. players can also author these encounter things. that's really what i want to talk about.
it's where these encounters meet objects and require a 'win condition' to move on.
so, when the author sets things up, he creates an encounter. in that encounter, say, the basement of a library for example, he can place all manner of pre-made objects or create new ones in the encounter. (keep in mind this is web-based, so creating a new item on the fly is as easy as a short ajaxified-pop-in-pop-out form)
our author plugs in a short description of the encounter, attaches a few objects and sets one of these win condition things.
back in our library, maybe our author writes some short, pithy description like "You are in the basement of the library. Around you are dusty shelves, a couple boxes and a cloudy mirror leaning against the wall."
well. those bolded words would automatically (in an ideal world. still debating on that one. worst case scenario, they are manual for a bit. certainly manual if the author created them specifically for this adventure.) be linked to objects in our database. the player, as they are pondering why it's so dusty in the basement, can click on 'dusty shelves' and see a detailed description and picture of them.
now, below this quip of text on the 'encounter page' would be two dropdown lists — one with your all of your skills and actions, the other with all of the objects in the encounter — just those two lists and a submit button.
basically, you're picking your verb and noun of the encounter.
now, back to the author. when he (or she, i suppose) sets up the encounter win situation, he picks one of the objects, picks a skill or ability (say… search.) and then sets a value required to accomplish the feat. the player will have an opportunity to beat that value and progress to the 'success encounter' or the 'failure encounter.' the player gets xp that correlates directly with how high that value is.
the player — let's assume he picks 'search' from his list of character skills and 'dusty shelves' from the objects list. the target value is a 12. he gets a skill total of 18 when he hits 'submit.' he progresses (the new web page loads) to the encounter that talks about the lever cleverly hidden behind some aging books on the shelf. or the one where a giant spider jumps out. or the one where his reflection steps out of the mirror while his back is turned examining the shelf. whatever.
(oh, and i should mention, the author gets a share of xp for every encounter of his a player plays.)
because we're stacking skills, abilities, objects and events, we can get away with allowing all kinds of fun scenarios to be created, and yet still be tied to tactical values in the game.
it's pretty much an entire game built on opposed checks and the effects of those.
it's kind of like a community-content driven, semi-graphical (all objects and encounters can have images attached to them) mud (of telnet yore) with a heavy reliance on pvp and crafting, yet, without the intimidating free-form text entry — just point and click accessibility of the web.
well. kind of.