Monday, 11 June 2007

Two arms, two legs and one head? Bah!

I seem to suffer from creativity. I have Ideas. Lots of them.

An example: when I was maybe 15, I created with a friend a collectable card game. We started of with our concept, developed some rules, mocked up some cards, started playtesting, tweaked cards, then gave up because we discovered the concept already existed and had done for several years. Damn (sub-lesson: do your research). I started thinking about how I could do a space version of Kingdom of Loathing, but stopped when I figured they were probably working on it already (disclaimer: they might not be). And so it goes on.

Fortunately, I have outlets for this constant churn of ideas: I create scores of D&D characters, usually distinct concepts, although mostly casters, and the germ of some kind of backstory in my mind. Then I forget about them when the next big idea comes along.

More recently, having started reading various MMO blogs, I've had a craving to design my own. It’s not going to fly obviously; I doubt any studios will want to spend copious amounts of money on the vision of anyone (especially after Sigil), let alone a 19 year-old with no game design experience. But I'm creating concepts and mechanics and the like, and trying to force it into some kind of design document. At the moment it’s little more than a set of post-its with information on.

A couple of years back, somewhere in the churn was a campaign world. In the depths of my mind exists a world of sub-tropical islands, lit by suns formed of pure mana, inhabited by several races. The thing is, every race in MMOs at the moment seems to be elves/dwarves/gnomes/orcs/[generic fantasy creature X]. Maybe a couple of anthropomorphic creatures (ugh). Screw that. I want weird creatures with 4 legs and no discernable body. I want races with asymmetric builds. I want races with two sets of arms and vestigial legs that are for balance not propulsion.

What I want most right now is Spore.

I've a couple of ideas for pretty unique races (see above), but they'd never see light in any mainstream game, because of how outright weird I like things. I'm sure (at least I hope) that I'm not alone, and from the sounds of the hype surrounding Spore I'm probably not. Spore doesn't even seem to be purely a game as a creative tool. I know that I'll be using it to populate D&D worlds with monsters (probably aberrations), and I'd stick some of the designs in my game that won't get made (think of all the fun with equipment slots! tangible reasons to pick a race ("Ah, as a Codzilla you'll want the second hat slot form playing a Hoozitz, but if you want to be a Foozle-Slayer you basically need the leg slots from being a Doohickey, and don't worry, you don't need the boot slot if you do" (on second thought that’s a bad idea (I've managed insanely stacked parentheses again =/))))

Hopefully a game will come out that doesn't rely on the elf/dwarf/human/orc/X paradigm, but I'm not going to hold my breath. But when it does, it'll be nice to see some originality of design for once; there's only so many creatures that can be stolen before one world merges into the next.

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