Social Gaming – An idea and execution

Those who have been with me on this blogging journey know I went through a phase with The Hunger Games. I wrote out an idea for a Hunger Games video game where 24 players are in direct PvP with each other to win the game. Coming after the afterglow which was Twitch Plays Pokemon, I think the idea or socialized PvP would be interesting to explore. One thing I found interesting is how much trouble when everyone is given an equal and strong voice to change how the game is played. Transferring the knowledge of TPP, I do believe it is plausible to create such a dangerous game that allows the spectators control of how the game is played. From hazards and weapons to the gifts the participants would receive, the spectators would have absolute control. Even the map selection power is given to the spectators and the 24 participants would have to endure any pain and punishment the Internet can throw at them.

For the players, the game should be simple as a HUD-less FPS with a survival element. The objectives are to kill the other players and survive. At the start, weapons are provided to players as well as limited amount of supplies. It’s fairly simplistic for players to either roam or destroy each other within a confined but open world map. Winner is last one standing through elimination or attrition. The dynamic element is how the spectators come into play. For the spectators, they have control of every aspect of how the game will progress. Before the round starts, they have a limited window to choose a map; each map has it’s own environmental hazards. So players would have to adjust playing in various condition which can kill them naturally. After the match has started, the chaos ensues into a random command input where the system monitors the spectators inputs for certain event to occur. Spectators choose from a variety of hazards such as randomly spawning beasts to change in weather and even show mercy by giving the players additional supplies. The system after a certain time limit will execute the task that’s highly voted upon. So an example list would be as such:

Fire barrier – A hazard to deter players from passing into certain areas. In players encounter this , they will be burned. This is a toggle, allowing the spectators to vote for it on or off.

Precipitation – Spectator’s choice. In forms of rain, acid rain and snow. Rain will slow players on certain terrain. Acid rain causes burning when exposed in an open area. Snow which slows in exposed area and the area becomes colder which can kill players.

Beasts – This is a spectator’s choice of various dangerous animals. Bother fictional and actual animals can cause a variety of status effects and even killing the players it encounters. Status effects range from bleeding, poison, excessive pain and fear. Bleeding causes health to passively drain until heal. Pain slows and can cause the player’s character to fall over at times, can be healed. Fear makes the players paranoid which will make the player at times hear things and see things that are not there, this disappears over time. Poison is the ultimate of the three which can cause a random of two of the 3 status effects which can disappear over time or can be removed through consuming an antidote.

Mercy – Grants players to vote for an item to a voted player. This item will descend close by the player, giving the the opportunity to pick it up or leave it. The item can be food or small items like medicine and even fire starting materials.

Feigned Mercy – Votes for a large present placed in the center of the map and announced to the players. It will be something players will want or need to survive. This can be weapons, food or items. With feigned mercy, the spectators can also vote on certain traps to be placed or not place them all. Traps such as forcing certain events to happen like the ones listed or a mix of everything.

Add/Remove Victory Conditions – Spectators can add more victory conditions and even remove the ones they have previously voted.

Though these are examples, these hazards can be expanded to do a lot more. Now implementing how these things happen is another matter in itself. Considering the need to spawn items and creatures in a circular arena, I would think a hex based spawning system would be in order. The system should allow the spectators to select a hex or player and select a hazard for which spectators can vote. The voting mechanic should be able to customize the time for one vote session allowing it to be as long or short as it wants. If not, then likely have each hazard have a cooldown period before being voted on again. Of course if there is a cooldown then the dangerous hazards would have the shortest while the safest will have the longest. The matches should be compelling but not well too drawn out, so I suggest a 20-25 minute match time; probably a tournament version to be longer to allow players who choose to play a longer match. This seems to be the simplest part since it’s mostly FPS and RPG coding; the shooting, survival and the hex map will play a role directly to the 24 players. The spectator system will be a bit more complex. Surely I think the system should allow spectators to jump into any match and start voting, so likely each match should have a match name or an ID when a match is created. Following that, it should have a watch for spectators to observe and execute voting procedures as quickly as possible. Which means a simple but powerful voting interface to encourage voting. Aside from that, gaming amenities such as chat should be implemented. To attract more spectators than players, I think having an online web interface would be appropriate while players will have a downloaded client to play in first person. I’ve seen some game engines which can handle a lot in a web browser plugin, I don’t think it would be possible to support over 64 players even though 24 are actual participants. If possible, perhaps have two versions of the game; one for players and one for spectators (Player’s client will have the spectator client included) or a web plugin if possible. So interest of time, I think spectators should have a 2D representation of the game board with current live and dead players displayed on a hex board along with status of the arena such as weather and hex conditions played by spectators. Consider it like a minimap in which spectators can only view. Of course there are a few drawbacks to the game such as ghosting where by a player can be instructed on what to do by watching or be watched by a non-participating member. To prevent thing, I think having the match ID be the only thing displayed and is randomly generated for spectators to us. The players won’t know the ID and on the spectator side, they won’t see the player’s name but can see their affiliations within the fictional world. For players the UI will be simple, a weapon display as well as a backpack interface if they are able to obtain a backpack. For spectators, they will have a their web plugin/client be more like a IRC chat and a large minimap and voting display.

Though players in this Hunger Games universe can dominate each other, the only true power is held amongst those who watch their fates unfold. Until next time, to the last man standing.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s