Wednesday, 24 April 2013

5,000 Views + Transgaming & True Social Games

This morning versamus tipped over 5,000 pages views! I am very very excited about this, and I hope that this means someone somewhere has gotten something useful out of my blog. So, here's to another 5,000, and a continuing posting extravaganza!

However, I can't just sit here all day discussing my blog's stats, so here goes with the actual post of the day:

Transgaming & True Social Games

Long have I played games, and long have I watched friends play games. Some of them prefer RTS (like I do), some refer FPS, some RPGs, and some special few prefer browser-based social games. This is great! The more ways to play, the better, and for a designer and oft-times programmer, it means the more systems I get to crack open and explore. I couldn't be more excited.

Well, that's not true. There is one things that would excite me more. Combining them all together.

The concept of Transgaming is not new, but it is one that is newly being explored by AAA companies. It is the idea that several games work together in the same setting to create a joint gaming experience. Unlike many cross-genre settings, however, the games all interact (success in one game alters the functions of the other, etc). But I can't explain it terribly well, so, for a brief run down of the concept, watch the Extra Credits video on it.

Transgaming Hypothetical

So, lets assume you've now watched the video, or you haven't but understand the concept well enough to discuss it. Now, imagine the following:

A games company releases four games called the following:
  1. SpaceWars,
  2. SpaceFighter,
  3. SpaceCraft,
  4. and SpaceFarmer.
Those titles are almost as good as "Revengeance"!
SpaceWars is an MMORTS set in a futuristic world where interstellar empires battle it out across the galaxy. Now, discounting all the current problems with MMORTSs, in this game you essentially build fleets to attack enemy planets and take them over into your empire. All well and good.
Think Empire At War space battles...
SpaceFighter is an online lobby ticket-based FPS (think Star Wars Battlefront or Day of Defeat) where two forces fight each other over some goal (probably base-capture, but many game modes would be possible like any online FPS). You have a certain amount of team respawns before your side loses. Simple enough.
...With Day of Defeat lobby battles...
SpaceCraft is a Minecraft or Terraria style collaborative (or singleplayer) game where you mine materials and build better equipment in your search for more riches, etc. Again, nothing overly fancy.
...Fighting on maps made with Minecraft...
And finally SpaceFarmer is a browser-based social game much like FarmVille in that you can tend your farm and slowly grow it into a more and more advanced system, little by little, playing each day. Once again, nothing particularly new about this.
...All with resources gathered from FarmVille.
However, there is something I forgot to mention about all of these games. When you play SpaceWars and send a fleet to another planet, a lobby is opened in SpaceFighter which all of your in-game friends can join. The amount of tickets available is based on the fleet size you sent. And the resources used to build your fleet are generated by your friends who are playing SpaceCraft and SpaceFarmer. Not to mention the level your SpaceFighter friends are playing in is created by the opposing SpaceWars player's friend who plays SpaceCraft. If you take over another planet in SpaceWars, you friends playing SpaceFarmer get more squares to build on, and a new world is created for your friends who play SpaceCraft to explore and build.
This is a 100% accurate representation of how connected this system is.
But remember, not everyone has to be aware of all the details, just their little part.
In SpaceWars you upgrade technologies that aid all other games, and are paid for by the efforts of all your friends. And, seeing as this is a collaborative game, your friends list exists over all four games, and can include other empires as well. So, suggest a mother and her two sons play these transgames and are on each other's friends lists. The mother players SpaceFarmer in her free time, and earns some resources for her troubles. The exact same amount is sent to both her sons - who both play SpaceWars but against one another. So, even though they are competing, the mother isn't playing favourites  Further, she can benefit from the upgrades and successes of both of her children who duke it out in interstellar combat.

TRUE Social Games

For a long time we have talked about social games where families and long distance friends/whatever can work together to accomplish something in game. Well, whilst this is ideal, it is unrealistic, as not everyone likes the same games.

So make different games which all work together.

Just have a think about the possibilities...

Probably a lot more on this later!