We’ve spent a lot of time talking about code, mechanics, components, monsters, and all that here on the board. But I think it’s time to move a bit beyond that.
To talk about Game Design, and specifically, what I think people want from this game. Our end goal. The roles I think our players should be able to play, the flow and feel I think we should strive to achieve, the STYLE of dangers and challenges we want them to face, the opportunities (and their costs) we want them to choose between, and maybe even, yes, the mechanics that I feel will support that.
So I’m going to record the thinking I’ve been doing on this front, and how it ties some of the suggestions I and others have made into a larger picture.
Part 1; Role and User Stories
So, let’s think a bit about who plays this game and why. What do they want to achieve? The way I see it, players have several core motivations we should be designing for and keeping in mind as we develop the game. Note that these roles are not concrete - many players will fill more than one or even swap off between them between characters or even within the lifespan of a single character. But at their core, they are fueled by different motivations, and making gameplay that works for them.
Scavenger - Scavenging the bones of a dead city, the scavenger works to avoid danger and gather loot. They may play as a nomad, or as a hoarder (overlapping with the builder).
Commando - This person has one primary concern - Doing awesome shit. Getting absurd powers, crazy mutations, shoving tons of bionics into their body or just grabbing an awesome weapon and going to town on zombies, this player may start at the same doomed-to-die nobody everyone else does, but their end goal is clear: They want to dominate. They WILL be the action hero.
Survivalist - This person just wants to escape from it all and avoid the towns and cities, choosing to conquer nature instead. Wielding primitive weapons and tools, they’ll try to make a home for themselves and find self-sufficiency out away from the routine of daily combat or avoidance common to town life and focus on making everything they need from scratch out in the wilds. They like the idea of building themselves from nothing.
Vehicle Builder - This player wants to cruise the wasteland in style. The details of mechanics, of making their own vehicle or jacking up an existing one, are the primary purposes of their play in game. They get something awesome that they can call their own that takes them wherever they want to go. Can easily cross over with the Commando or ReBuilder.
ReBuilder - This person wants to make their claim and conquer a chunk of the world, carving it into their own image. Whether building a fortress in the wilderness or expanding their hold on the city block by block, it’s not terribly important to them that there’s nothing in game that their absurd defenses and elaborate construction projects will every be truly challenged by - the fortress is it’s own reward. They will make this chunk of land truly THEIRS.
There may be other roles people play as well, and I’d like to hear them! When you play, what end goals do YOU have in mind? Did I miss anything?