The last few days have been sadly void of many solid ideas I feel like I can articulate yet, probably because its been a bit of a crap week. Some people become more prolific when they’re having a hard time of it, but I find my creativity takes a nose-dive when the depression kicks into high gear and I can’t really organize my thoughts. So I’ve decided to switch gears a little for this post and instead of talking about one thing in detail I’m just going to throw some stuff out there that’s been careening around in my brain.
Its been pointed out to me by someone with more experience that I might be off the mark a bit envisioning this game as an MMO. Those things are huge and involve a metric ton of maintenance and support. Trying to build one that’s not only functional, but also fresh and new might be out of this project’s wheelhouse. I’ve been pondering something closer to a cooperative stage/hub based RPG. Before I go on, let me mention that I have not played very many MMOs. I downloaded the free trial of WoW and was so bored after a couple days that I seriously couldn’t understand the amount of time and money people put into it. The only MMO I really got into was Guild Wars 2. Mechanically that game is tons of fun and I’ve done a lot of the story missions to get the shiny toys that come as rewards, but I have to say my immersion was completely shattered by the story bits. The focus of your personal story is that you become the military leader that saves the land from unspeakable evil, but there’s always the glaring fact that everyone else in the game is that same military leader. I would rather have a story that makes the entire community of players a collective force that beats back the unspeakable evil, and hub-based missions might be better suited for that. And easier. Some of the missions/stages/whatever could be for solo players and some could be for a medium-to-large party. Anyway, that’s where my mind's been going.
Speaking of unspeakable evil, I’m getting a better idea of where I want to go with the world-building. A few years ago I wrote a thing for NaNoWriMo, which started out as a vampire story (I know I know). After November was over I decided that it was a crap story but had some potential if I expanded the world beyond what I’d originally written. I’ve been working on it for way too long for it to be as rough as it is, but I think there’s potential there. I had a revelation when I started re-writing it that if there was something I wanted to put in there, I could find a way to put that thing in there. Seems obvious, but there you have it. In any case, the world in the story draws heavily from the Japanese onryo or vengeful ghost, a concept with frightens me more than practically any other thing that exists, and as much as I am fond of hyperbole I am not exaggerating here. I’ve gone into the philosophy of the myth and why it scares me so much - if I can find that particular blog from years ago I’ll post it. But anyway, after I started expanding my world into other areas of horror and fantasy besides vampires magical things started to happen. I toyed with the idea of every pantheon of gods being lesser aspects of one nameless archetype. I added dragons for no other reason than I frikkin’ love dragons, but I think I found a way for it to work. Ever have one of those moments where something is so completely clear and obvious you can’t imagine why you didn’t think of it in the first place? That’s what happened here.
I thought about it and decided to post a link to part of the fragmented mess that is this story if some folks wanted to get an idea of the setting, which is quite urban fantasy/horror. If you do decide to read it keep in mind that it is SUPER rough around the edges, but I’m putting it up here anyway. With the stuff that’s been going on recently, “having something I wrote eviscerated on the internet as crap” isn’t really that scary.
On the subject of scope, I’ve had a few more thoughts about the target audience for this tool/game. I said before I that I would like to have it be available for anyone with a mental illness, and I’m sticking with that eventual goal. But I think I’m going to have to focus on one or two in the beginning and try to branch out from there because the spectrum of mental health issues is so broad and dealt with in so many different ways. This came up because of a close friend of mine who has bipolar disorder and is in the middle of a manic episode. Bipolar is a completely different beast from what I deal with - when I get depressed being inactive is the worst possible thing I can do. I have to make myself get out of the house, play a game, ride my bike, or something that forces my mind to break out of the pattern its fallen into. Not so with someone on the edge of mania. The more stimulation they get, the worse their mental state becomes in my experience. Which is a problem from a game design standpoint because games are by definition meant to stimulate. So perhaps for the time being it would be best for me to focus on the problems that are more in my wheelhouse and expand later if possible, and after a lot of consulting with professionals and folks who suffer from more diverse issues.
I'm hoping my thought processes will be more clear in the next couple days and I can start mapping out more details on the self-tracking tool I want to include and the social platform. In the meantime, thanks again to everyone who's still reading and giving feedback.