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Idea for post-apocalypse survival type game.

Texas Al
I've been kicking around an idea for a PHP/MySQL game. It's too long to tell in one post, but I'll start recording my thoughts here for my own future reference and for anybody else who might be interested.

I like the way it's possible to play web-based games as a tiny diversion from your day without them taking over your life the way "real" MMORPGs do. Unfortunately, most of them seem to be clones of Utopia. It's always bugged me how unrealistic Utopia-style games are-- there is no map, no concept of distance. Land is treated as this generic object your troops go out and grab some of from other players and bring it back. Or you send them out to explore and they grab land from nowhere and bring it back. Then you use this land to build more factories or barracks or whatever so you can make more troops or more gold and send them out again. Which is the other thing wrong with Utopia-- it gets repetitive and boring fast.

Luckily, it's very easy to write games in PHP/MySQL. And I have an idea for a better game that's simple yet realistic. The basic scenario is that you're a survivor of a nuclear holocaust or some other massive disaster that has caused the collapse of civilization as we know it. There is a map you can explore (in the playable version the unexplored regions will look like an old, worn US highway map, probably of central Texas). When you explore a square, you learn some of its stats. If there is an owner, you can trade with them, work for them, or fight them. If there is no owner, you can claim it and build stuff on it. None of this "Your troops captured 2342 lands" nonsense.

You budget your movement points between foraging (for food and items left from before the collapse), building structures, making items, and working to produce food. Fighting and moving between regions also costs movement. If you don't eat during a turn, you lose hitpoints, so the first priority becomes growing, finding, stealing, or buying a food supply.

The items you can build (at first) are very crude, but you can use them to build better items and eventually machines. Occasionally you can get lucky and find items that are far more sophisticated than what you can build.

Since there won't be enough movement points to do everything and be everyplace you need to be, it will be advantageous to specialize, trade, and band together with neighbors for mutual protection.

The implementation of new game features will roughly follow the real-life tech tree-- first hand tools are implemented, then metal casting, then simple machines, then power generators, then power tools. But all buildings and all items will invoke the same generic functions, just with different arguments.

Another important game principle will be diminishing returns. For instance, two players working a farm will produce almost twice what one player would produce (without the expense of building and protecting a second farm) so this is a profitable thing to do. However, as the number rises to three, four, five... the per-player productivity starts to decline for the same reasons we don't have 200 farmers plowing the same acre in the real world.


Step 1
To fully figure out the logical structure of all the major game features. In other words, instead of getting bogged down in the properties of individual objects and buildings, I'm going to generalize what those classes have in common and make the them flexible enough to accomodate all likely future enhancements.

Step 2
To implement the simplest test case of each feature-- i.e. a player object with just one or two stats, one building, one item, a basic map grid.

Step 3
To clean up the code and make the test scripts interoperate as one game. To populate them with enough additional instances to make a simple but playable game. The initial objects might be... farm (building), scrap metal (found item), knife (found item), scrap metal blade (item made from scrap metal), log (item created when clearing land for a farm), stone (item created when clearing land for a farm), seed (found item), crop (item produced by a farm on a regular basis, the amount depending on how many movement points you and your employees have put in during that time period), MRE (found food item).

Step 4
To launch this game (probably on my FriHost account) for you guys to have fun with.

Step 5

Step 6

I welcome your ideas.
This is definatley a solid concept, and a good one as well. Smile

I would love to play this game...I'm especially digging the post-global disaster setting. This is sounding pretty sweet, so good luck! Smile

As for ideas...ack, I'm just here for motivation. Razz
Texas Al
The game is also supposed to be as factual as possible. Most of the tech tree won't be documented, just a general help file saying "Want to know what's needed to build XYZ? Look it up in Wikipedia."

At some point all the techs that I understand (at least in theory) will be implemented. That leaves most of the others.

For instance, I have no idea how to make a lightbulb filament, even though I'm sure it can be done if you have all the prerequisite techs. At this point an incentive will be offered to the players-- notify the game admins of a *reliable* source for how to build something (encyclopedia entries, patents, etc.), and after it gets implemented in the game, the name of that player will be remembered forevermore as the re-inventor of that item, with some in-game advantages (they get the first one and are the only player to know for sure what the prerequisite items are until/unless they tell other players).

Likewise, there could be a smaller bonus for players who discover a major inaccuracy in the tech tree, or a typo, or come up with a good idea in general.
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