I like to consider myself a creative person and one thing I hope I share with other creative people in this industry is a “what if” project. What if I had unlimited resources at my disposal and could make a game just for me; damn the publisher, damn the gamers and only concentrate on making it for me. Now there is a chance that my idea will appeal to other people and that would be a small benefit, without further ado I present to you my dream idea.
My idea is a *takes a long breath* economic city builder, action RPG set in an open randomize world. The player is an orphan in a fantasy like world who owns the trading business their family has run for several years. One day the land they thought they own is taken away from and all they have left is with is a plot of desolate land. The player’s mission is to not only turn the land around but to expand and become the most profitable powerful person in the world.
There are two main forms of game play: mayor mode and action mode, I’ll start with action mode first. In action mode the game is played from the third person perspective and is used for exploration and combat. The player can go anywhere and fight anything as they explore around the land. Any item that is found has a use, from plants to be used by an herbalist, to the bones of an animal that could be fashioned into armor. The player can also take villagers out in hunting parties to bring back resources for the town. Along with the player, every villager has attributes that define what they are good at. When entering a new area for the first time it is uninhabitable to setup a village and the player must recruit people to help clear it out. Several objectives must be completed to be able to secure the land. You may also find monster lairs that can be explored for treasure and bragging rights.
Next is Mayor Mode; this is where the city building comes in. Played from the isometric point of view if you are inside a village that you own you can switch between the two modes at anytime. Building your village follows the Anno series model of buildings falling into different tiers based on class. Along the first few tiers you’ll find woodcutters and blacksmiths, later tiers have military academies and fancy shops. Depending on what buildings you put up will determine the people who will show up. Every person who arrives will have their own attributes and abilities which can affect both their performance in the field as well as in the shop. Anyone can be recruited for adventuring but there is a greater cost in hiring someone who doesn’t have the adventurer trait. People will level up over time either through combat or by producing enough goods at their job, with higher level people having better attributes.
Going back to material gathering, everything found while exploring has a use and once brought back to the village it can be picked up by the respective villager to be refine. When a product is finished it can be purchased by anyone including the player. If a villager buys an item then they own it and will use it at their own accord. The player with receive a small discount off the price of an item if they buy it and it goes into their stockpile. The importance of the stockpile is that the player can keep the best equipment to be given out to people they will take out for adventuring or in the military.
Everyone in the game has money with villagers making money by selling goods, going adventuring and fighting in the army, with the player receiving taxes from villagers and a share of the profit on sold goods. If the player buys an item they will not receive any cut from the profit from it. Food is unique among the refine products; it cannot be bought by the player but is instead sold to the general populace and whatever available food to be bought makes up the stockpile of the village. If a city doesn’t have the materials needed available locally you can always order goods from other cities that you are friendly with; the further the city the higher the cost.
Some buildings require advance villagers to operate them like hospitals or blacksmiths, you have a chance with each new arrival to have someone with the prerequisite ability but more often you’ll have to attract them. First you need to build the building of course; a doctor is not going to work out of a barn. Second you must have the materials that they will use in stock. Someone who will build guns will not work in a village that doesn’t have a supply of gun powder for instance. Advance villagers will also have higher than average attributes to go along with their advance profession. Usually they will take one of the local children and make them their apprentice with the child being promoted to that profession after X amount of time has passed. If your village becomes technologically advanced enough you can build a school that can teach both children and adults advance professions. While fighting monsters and gathering taxes is all well and good, eventually you’ll have to deal with the other rulers of the land.
What could be worse than dealing with monsters? How about a pompous aristocrat who thinks they are better then you? Starting out you’ll be a small fish in the grand scheme things and won’t attract too much attention. Eventually though you’ll draw the eye of the various rulers around your land. They will start to request things from you and failing to keep up will make them very unhappy. Refuse enough times or if the person just doesn’t like you and you’ll go to war. War requires a restructuring of your city priorities; you’ll need a place to train along with armor and weapon outfitters to supply the troops. Unlike other city builders your army is not made up of hundreds of faceless troops and is made up of your villagers. This serves two purposes, one it makes things more personal to lose troops and two allows the size of the city to define the standing army. As mayor/king/general you will not lead your troops directly but control them from the mayor mode view like a RTS.
Another way of taking over is through diplomacy, by building successful villages you can start to sway the other villages to support you. You may send money to other villages as a way of support or provide trading routes to them to increase commerce. If the people of the village like you enough they move to your village or you may have a chance to buy establishments in other towns. If you own enough parts of another village you can take the village over thanks to the will of the people. Likewise if you are doing a poor job managing your village or don’t have enough money to keep the city going, other villages may do the same thing to you.
In “Josh’s Dream Land” I could see the game being played through a story mode that follows the player through different lands in an attempt to become ruler and a randomize scenario mode that the player chooses how big the world is and plays the game through it. Each region will have its own set of resources requiring the player to create different villages in each instead of going with one way that works everywhere. Even in my dreams I don’t think this game could work with multiplayer as I don’t even want to calculate how long a multiplayer game could take.
Like most of the ideas that I talk about I already have a design document taking shape in the back of my mind. If someone could be so kind to make this game for me or provide me with the manpower required I would greatly appreciate it.