Thursday, July 19, 2007

Next-Gen FPS / RTS

An Idea popped into my head after reading Charles Murray's latest piece, Randall Parker's comments on it and watching a run of the mill Sci-Fi Movie on TV (Red Planet).

So much talk about overhauling the education system - yet so little actually happening. Ive semi-come to a conclusion that when a system as broken as the education system is entrenched, there is a period of massive waste of resources before any change is affected. AKA the old system keeps creaking on, while a smaller one pops up and offers a better real deal but one that is not recognized as such so is a realpolitik bad deal. In other words, getting the skills is worthless unless it is under the old bad system - but pioneers get the skills the new way and pay a price.

So on to the idea:-

Why not incorporate basic physics, engineering and math skills into an FPS/RTS game?

I have a friend who was in active duty in WWII (hes old now), and he stated that he learned more in 6 months in military technical training than he did in years of school. They would put the recruits in a room with fiendishly disabled radio equipment for example - that looked in perfect working order but had a transistor overloaded here or a fuse gone there and let them figure out how to get it working.

Games have all sorts of situations that require knowledge and mental skills like above. For example having to get a defensive perimeter set up, or get the lights back on within a time constraint.

If getting the lights back on, why not really have the player get the lights back on instead of him just going somewhere and pressing a button?

Say everytime the enemy disabled a tank, random computer generated problems arose - and an engineer-player had to figure out whats wrong and fix it.

In the fictional Quake Universe, the alien Strogg invaders have a nutrient solution called Stroyent that doubles as ammunition or Health.

It is a fungible resource and implies a trade-off. Why not apply this in games more fundamentally? Say a Vehicle was disabled - you can either repair it, or waste a fungible resource to have it Insta-repaired. If you repair it yourself you can use the saved resource to upgrade weapons or get a faster engine, or better communications etc.

Basic Calculus.
Setting up supply lines requires basic calculus. Why not use it? The amount of resource or time it takes to get to its destination can vary depending on the route set up. Going through a mountain would be safer from enemy attack, but slower and more expensive resource consumption.

The game would have a smaller market because one would really need to learn some skills to play it. But it would be a niche market. Furthermore, all engineering needed skills could be switched off (and for multiplayer) server-side if wanted. Furthermore - because it is a niche market, its graphics do not have to be top notch for it to get a following - no need for millions and millions of dollars - just tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After making a Single Player Version, can you imagine how multi-player would take off? Especially a Mod Community?


TabooTruth said...

While I would love a game that could pull it off,
Would you really want to pull out your graphing calculator while trying to pull off head shots on aliens? At that level, people generally enjoy math and science for its own sake. They could make interesting word problems, though.

MensaRefugee said...

Dum di dum..

I was thinking along the lines, mebbe of America's Army at least.

You have to qualify certain skills, and then auto apply them in battle.

As for in game fighting. Say the task was to set up a defense on a space station. There could be dozens of ways to do it. So the enemy engineer may have to analyze it to figure out its weakness - a substantial task in itself.

Just thinking out loud...