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  Mmmm 06:49 PM -- Thu February 28, 2008  

Mmm, Primal Strips. Thai peanut flavor.

Yesterday, I played WoW for wayyyy long, because I was just having a blast! Wait, this is going somewhere with merit. But first, let me say that I take back my displeasure with the Paladin class. I'm having more fun on my Paladin than anyone else except the Hunter. I think it's mainly because of the quests she's been on, very epic things. Which leads me to the meritorious portion of today's commentary:

Quelastima, my mighty Paladin, got a quest a looong time ago, which I finally accomplished. It's a great quest - you need to go around the world to four very different areas to collect the components that a smith needs to craft you a special weapon. The downside is that the places you need to go are inside "instances", which are areas where you need to go with a group to stay alive. I don't do groups, so instead I just ignored the quest until I got powerful enough to do by myself (and consequently, it was worth almost no XP). So this was really my first in-depth experience with instances. Well, previously I had done Ragefire Chasm (with an actual group!), but that one is lame - it's basically just a regular area filled with monsters that are tougher than normal.

And it was fun! The fun I had going into these places and seeing the simple story-tellish nature of them got me thinking about the random nature of Titan Tunnels. You can definitely have fun in a random dungeon. You sort of make your own stories - you come around a corner and Gorthagg The Unpleasant is there, and you engage in this long fight, hiding around corners and plinking away and just barely surviving his Death Noodles and healing up just in time. That's what you get in a random game. But in a hand-made adventure, you can still have that same thing - the designer places Gorthagg somewhere, and you have that same encounter. Repeated visits are diminished, since you know exactly where he is and the environment you'll face him in, but your first meeting is just the same as in the random scenario. Then the other fun you get in a hand-made adventure is that these "story events" will happen, at cleverly paced and plotted moments. In a random scenario, you may hack away at Zorp Worms for an hour before anything of any interest happens. A hand-made adventure is always interesting, assuming competent design.

What does that all mean? Well, what I'm considering, as a possibility anyway, is to make Titan Tunnels not a random game, but give it a series of Quests. A Quest, in this case, is like a Supreme level - you lay out the walls and monsters, and throw in special events where you need. The player would choose which quest to tackle from their town, depending on which ones were available to them, and what level they were at. I would want people to be able to make their own Quests, so the options for a player are always growing. There are some serious issues with that that would need working out, though. That's a whole separate issue from the editability that allows you to make your own entire world (classes, items, monsters, bullets). That's easier, but it fragments the game - I'd want you to be able to make quests that go in the original 'world', rather than having to make a new world of your own to hold your quests. It's hard to explain. But the presence of an unending collection of user-made quests would be a fitting substitute for random generation, in terms of keeping the game always new. And it would of course have the benefit I talked about above, of offering a sense of story and interesting events. Lastly, of course, I'm always very aware that Supreme is what keeps this site alive - I'm always feeling the need to offer more editing opportunities. It's user creation that drives community.

Anyway, it's something I'm considering. I have hundreds of hours worth of stuff to do before I even have to worry about what format the maps will be in, and how they'll be generated. Everything about that game (and Happyponygate) is feeling very far away right now though... so much to be done. It makes me tired enough to play WoW (or avoid work by writing a huge journal entry).
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