So I just reread my post about Emergent Gameplay. I sound like a crazy person, babbling on about random things without a clear direction. I wanted to see if there wasn’t some way I could clear up some of that this morning.

I have this idea for a game that I’ve been working on for a long time, and each time I’ve picked it up, I’ve hit some kind of wall, usually in the mechanics department. See, I want a game with a mystery to solve throughout the course of gameplay. Great story- or setting-driven games can do this, in my opinion, once.

You can replay them, but you’re just reliving your memory of the mystery. What I’m looking for, what I want is more a game with a repeatable mystery element, one in which you can play the game each time and be surprised by what lies at the end.

One game mechanic you can use to try and achieve this is a random map and/or encounter generator, and you can see how the entries in the Diablo series and roguelikes contain replay value in their random dungeons and encounters. No two playthroughs are exactly the same, not content-wise anyhow.

Randomness   125-365 #2

You have failed me for the last time.

I know that I’ve gotten tired of Diablo’s meaningless randomness on more than one occasion. There’s only so much you can change when all you’re changing are the maps and monsters. No one event is really connected to another in a meaningful way, and the quests and the order you visit the locations is almost always the same.

Randomly-generated maps only work so well when it comes to exploration. It’s easy enough to see there’s no significance to the maps. There’s nothing to really find. Just more map. And if random combat encounters are the focus of gameplay, they don’t lend much if the rest of the game is always the same (quests, plot points, characters, locations, et cetera.).

Several ideas came together to form this idea of a repeatable mystery game, based on years of playing different kinds of games, most of which featured some sort of recurring element, and some kinds of random elements. I’m going to take some time to talk about them throughout the day, and how they inspired my current work.

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