Coded azure.

Monday 26 November 2007

Screenshot Sims 2

Pic of the day: Everyone loves a Lightwielder... (Screenshot from The Sims 2.)

Lightwielder RPG?

It's hard to find a color for this entry, but I think this is the least confusing. Because it is when I look at the worldbuilding for my Lightwielder novels that I realize how well suited they are to base a game on.

Think about it: There are hundreds of roleplaying games where you can maim and kill humans and monsters and various intermediate forms of these, in a number of imaginative ways. Well, not as imaginative as in the real world, but then again it is quite disturbing how imaginative people can be when it comes to killing each other in the real world. This is, in fact, one reason why the real world needs either some serious patching or a complete reboot. But more about that in many of my other entries. The point is, there are very few games where you can play a pacifist healer.

In all fairness, every role playing game with some self-respect has a kind of healer class, either full-time or in between cursing enemies, possibly bashing their head in with a cudgel like the AD&D clerics. But the role of the healing and blessing in a traditional RPG is to allow the more murderous teammates to stay alive and healthy and help them murder more efficiently.

Now you may argue that this is because humans are naturally violent. There is much in this, which I have talked about elsewhere and will hopefully talk about again, given some more lifetime. But that is not the point. There are already computer games that are not centered on violence but on nurture. Nintendogs, Catz, Dogz, Imagine Babies, to take some extreme examples. Or for slightly less extreme nurture: Animal Crossing, The Sims, Friends of Mineral Town. Clearly we aren't all violent all of the time.

And so I started to imagine how a Lightwielder game would be.


Actually, I think the Nintendo DS would be great to run such a game, because it already has a pretty strong position among people who don't want to dedicate their lives to gaming. It is cheap and unobtrusive and easy to use. If you are trying to sell a game to monks and nuns and NewAgers, it should probably not require a massive investment in hardware and require you to set aside a part of your home for it. That said, it is common to have a PC these days and this would allow for drastically improved graphics. I am just not sure whether this kind of game would appeal to people with a strong focus on graphics. I mean, that's a bit shallow, isn't it? And a bit shallow people would probably prefer bashing trolls. Possibly roleplaying trolls. Possibly roleplaying trolls in online forums and chat rooms. Not Buddhist nuns and young boys who take cold showers for Jesus. But these would be ideal customers, I think. Not that I have ever been a Buddhist nun, for a number of reasons.

Even though the Lightwielder stories are set in a fairly large world, I don't want a massive multiplayer online game. There is nothing inherently wrong with MMORPGs, it is just not necessary is what I think. The Lightwielders are anyway meant to be few and far between. I would like there to be an option for forming small teams using the wireless feature of the modern handheld games, but teaming would be optional and probably sporadic. This is fine - teaming is optional in the novels too, although it gets more attention. After all, it is together with others that we meet ourselves. The game would have non-player characters to interact with, though, each with their own rudimentary personality.

You the player would of course only have one "class" of character to play, namely a Lightwielder. I am not even sure if Darkwielders are real in the Path universe, they certainly don't get any screen time. So you would start out creating the looks of your character, but there would not be much point in setting up stats like strength and intelligence and dexterity etc, since they don't have much effect. Your tool is the Light magic after all, and it is not influenced by any of these. Well, I suppose it would take longer to learn the songs if you were really dumb, but then again you can just sing them from your Book of Light once you know the melody. So, you decide the gender and looks of your character, and then you start the game in a Lighthouse, which is kind of like a monastery or some such.

The game should be fairly relaxed at first - just walk around and talk to people, learn the first three Songs, read books in the library. The Songs are of course the way you channel the Light. In the novels you can learn the Songs at any time, but in a game it would make sense to only enable them when you have a bit more Attunement. Also in the novels, the Attunement depends partially on use and partially on a kind of introspection that you just can't implement in a game, and partly on living honestly. In the Lightwielder game, it would probably focus mostly on use. The more you use the Light magic, the better you get. Though I would try to put in a kind of pause that you would need to take from time to time, a time for quiet reflection, though of course there is no way to enforce that, just entice it. Perhaps play a pretty pattern of moving lights on the screen and some serene instrumental music, preferably of a vaguely New Age style.

Once you have picked up a couple more songs above the first three, there would show up people with quests you could join. Leave the Lighthouse and wander the countryside, with the first NPCs showing in practice how you can use the Songs to solve various problems you may run into. At first it would be pretty easy, like go to the nearby village and bless a few cows. Then gradually more complex and dangerous quests as the game progresses. Although I suppose we could leave the old quests in and just add new ones, so if you really really like cows you could go bless cows every day for the rest of your natural life. Kind of like Animal Crossing. There are new seashells each morning. Certainly blessing cows can't be worse than picking seashells. Perhaps we should put in an easter egg, like cows will begin to shine if you bless them enough. Or perhaps pigs will fly.

I don't know, I think I would play a game like that. Of course, that is not exactly a glowing recommendation, since I invented it.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Sims2: Apartment complex
Two years ago: Books, books
Three years ago: Fast forward
Four years ago: Is spiritual good?
Five years ago: Shedding
Six years ago: Erotic property
Seven years ago: Fat & fiction
Eight years ago: ... as stupid does
Nine years ago: Not the travelling type

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