Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

19 May, 2006

Weekend Design Challenge: Change of media
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:04 AM

In a previous blog entry I talked about changing the medium: taking a work from one media to another.

So, here’s this week’s challenge: take a work from another media and create a pitch to turn it into a game. Feel free to pick any type of video or computer game; don’t limit yourself to online RPGs. Try to point out the strength of the original work and how you intend to carry it over to the game.

Ideally, this should be a property that has not already been turned into a game. Or, at the very least, pick a new type of game to translate the property into.

My idea to follow….

Given the trainwreck waiting to happen with the Shadowrun license, I’d do a cooperative multiplayer game. The game would include a client and a server that players could run, similar to current FPS games. People could set up games to play with friends.

As I said, the focus would be on co-operative play. You’d get together with other people and do a run. You would select a character archetype and equip the character based on the scenario chosen. Some scenarios would give you more nuyen or karma to spend, depending on your archetype, to increase your abilities. Abilities might come in handy “packages”, so that you could buy things easily. Alternatively, you could create custom profiles and “load” them up as appropriate if the mission allows it.

The strength of the Shadowrun paper RPG is the history and fascinating setting. Elves, Dwarves, etc. in a cyberpunk setting is very unusual yet strangely attractive. The mix of tech and magic actually works in the system because the original designers thought about the issues. For example, not every “invisibility” type spell will fool machines; IIRC, you need to use physical magic instead of mana magic to fool a security camera. However, the original books outlined the history and explained why everything was the way it was. It seems like a shame to throw it all away like the upcoming FPS type game on the Xbox 360 is.

In addition, Shadowrun was truly cyberpunk: the more you fought against the system, the less you actually accomplished. You often accomplished more by going along with the system, but you ran the risk of being co-opted by the system you were sometimes trying to fight against. Sure that corp could get you a discount on some muscle augmentation, but at what price? I’m not just talking about currency here.

My proposed game would take this fascinating setting and exploit it as much as possible within the context of the game. Embedding little bits into the missions to give you a real feel for the setting would be neat. Perhaps have some system of scoring so that your decisions are reflected in more than just the success or failure of your missions. The strength of the game would be the interactivity, so you’d actually be controlling the characters in the world.

What’s your idea?


  1. Actually, i already wrote my entry for this one ;).

    Comment by Cael — 19 May, 2006 @ 3:54 AM

  2. An interesting type of game, Cael. But, what existing property do you think would work for this? Pick something from another medium to translate into the game property you describe.

    Have fun,

    Comment by Psychochild — 19 May, 2006 @ 6:56 PM

  3. I had an idea for a mult-player online version of tag once.

    It’s not clear if this is real or not, but it is awefully similar:

    Comment by Mike W — 20 May, 2006 @ 4:17 PM

  4. Here’s a slight twist on that: I’m taking a game in a virtual medium, and placing it in a physical one. It’s a modified version of Zork!

    Where I work, we will soon have 40 small sized displays spread around the building. Each one is tied to a location. If we take each location as a square, what we roughly have is a 40 square map.

    The idea of the game is to find treasure and make it out alive. Each display will have a little image, a description of the environment and an interface of options. The usual ‘take’ ‘move’ ‘look’ etc. If you choose move, you then move in that direction in the real environment till you find the next display.

    At it’s basic level it’s just a maze with traps. But i’m sure you can step that up by tracking items and discoveries. So a display says ‘it is too dark, you must find a torch’ until a player has unlocked it. And at an extreme level you could probably involve sound and props and play at night to really get some atmosphere going. At the extremest level you could try to add multiplayer but i’m not sure how it would work yet.

    So that’s my idea, maybe fun, maybe silly….

    “It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”

    Comment by Jpoku — 22 May, 2006 @ 2:22 AM

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