Saturday, July 01, 2006

Social Engineering, Part 1

This is not a game per se so much as a 3d chat client which only has emotes. I think it's an interesting idea.

(The Endless Forest)

I think we do think of our work mostly as games and not so much as art, but in the sense that art film makers consider their work to be cinema first and foremost. We have a similar attitude: we make games, yes, but they are artistically more interesting than most commercial games.

Basically they're batshit-insane artsy fartsy types who don't know the first god-damn thing about games. It's mildly interesting as a show that people are continuing to stumble about the unlit corners of the medium, which is heartwarming. "The medium" being interactive 3d technology, not games. I've seen this thing described as an MMORPG, and one way or another the creators insist on calling it a game. Accidental misnomer though it may be, I'm tempted to feel insulted, that they would call this a game. This is to games what a song is to amplitude; it's all well and good, but please don't call it a game. Yeah, you can interact with it, just like you can pause a song, or play it backwards, or at half volume, or whatever, but games need objectives, at least implicitly. Even all the Maxis games have implicit objectives.

So anyway, naturally as soon as I got my bearings, I wanted to totally destroy the "game" mechanics (in this case that would be to socially engineer), so I figured, "well what if we had chat, wouldn't that be hilarious?" I'm thinking of a few methods, most easily decipherable being a morse-code-like system of stringing emotes together.

The problem is that the player base doesn't seem quite big enough to have a few bad apples to spoil everyone's fun, even fewer ones who will go on the forums and see a guide I post which might be deleted, or figure it out for themselves. In the end I think I can have more impact on City of Heroes, and here's how:

I've made a hero called The Leader-Guy (just Leader-Guy to / commands) on Virtue. Once he hits 10, I start a supergroup with a name implying chaos and/or randomness, then I invite everyone I see, all the time. Everyone who joins will be immediately made into a random rank, aside from #1 - which will be mine alone, at least at first, so I can observe the supergroup.

True, I will miss the many folks who decide to /gignore me outright, banishing my account from ever playing or speaking with theirs, but after 2 years I figure I'm on enough people's shit-lists.

Every day or whenever, I'll totally change the permissions of what ranks are allowed to do what. People will be randomly promoted/demoted/kicked. I need to set up a full system that works on d2 and d6 (the in-game number generators), and I will follow it rigorously.

I have no idea what to expect from this, which is why it interests me. I'll let you know how it turned out, and what lessons I learned, if any.

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