One of my favorite things about Rocket is that he understands that a great game is more than a game. A truly amazing game can be a platform itself. One way to change a simple game into something more is to make it easy to modify. Some games have this customization built in like The Sims 3 for example. The developers give you the tools, and you make the content. Spore was a great example of this. Will Wright being the brilliant man he is realized that if you give the customer powerful tools they will make most of your content for you. It works two-fold – the dev gets content made for free, and the players get invested in their own worlds. Be warned I linked to some different games here. That is how ads work, if you buy them it helps keep this blog running, thank you.
The Future is Bright – pic by Joss
Game as Platform
Minecraft was one game that I thought would run with my “platform” concept. All the building blocks were there… I know, bad pun! Although you could do so much with the basic textures and mechanics, the modding scene is what truly makes Minecraft great. There are a few people that never changed a texture pack, or installed a mod, but I think most players dabbled at least a little bit.
The thing that hurts Minecraft is the lack of a true modding API. For those that do not know API means “application programming interface”. API just means a simple way to get at the guts of a game. For example if you want to change something without an API you have to either break open and change the core code, or make more code that rides on top and intercepts commands coming in and out of the software. With an API you just tell the software what changes you want and they are seamlessly integrated. This is a very crude explanation, but it will work for now.
Minecraft had a good shot at being that amazing platform. If Notch would have taken this route you might have hundreds or thousands of complete games based off of his software. As it is, we can get pretty close with some really awesome mods that change a lot about the game like Mo Creatures which adds “mo” creatures or Millenare which makes all kinds of villages packed with things to do.
Things kind of fell short when Notch decided that *HE* wants to provide the content, and *HE* wants to control what you do with *HIS* game. If he would have let go a little and gave up some of that control things may have gone different. As it stands he made a classic game and got rich, so what more can you ask for? Right?
DayZ is Different
Rocket has a slightly different viewpoint. Mr. Hall takes a different approach toward modding, most likely because he is a modder himself. However do not forget that he was a lead dev on ArmA 3 before he came out with DayZ, don’t pigeon hole him as a modder only. He sees the whole picture pretty well now, from player, to modder, to developer, to publisher.
Now people may say “Rocket has too much control, he won’t let us make PvE servers or let us have 50 helicopters per map, and why can’t everyone just spawn with an AS50 and NVG’s?!” In this sense, for the sake of the current game he has kept a TON of control. In the next phase, whatever exactly that might be, I think you will see more power given back to the players. A simple API will be built into the standalone game making it easier for people to change and tweak his code to bring about wild and crazy things that even Dean never thought were possible. Just like he did with ArmA 2.
DayZ: Capitol Wasteland
Think of it now: Super Mutants… Bottle caps…. Beans? A Fallout 3 version of DayZ would be so much fun. The games are very similar in a lot of ways already with the wasteland setting, rotten disgusting enemies (I am looking at you smoothskin), and the whole scrounging for ammo thing. Many of the basic mechanics are the same in both games, it would not be a stretch to see a new map, new textures, and a few tweaks to the core mechanics.
One of the things that DayZ lacks is a strong story line, and Fallout has many years of fake history and lore to draw from. NPC’s would probably need to be in the game for it to work right, and that might be a little stretch but I think Rocket and Co. plus some talented modders could pull it off. This one is a no-brainer.
Click read the rest of this entry below to read the rest of my DayZ mod concepts.