MMPnPRPG

One pitch a day: in August of 2011, I write each day an "elevator pitch" for a story or a game. Ok, this one is for a very long elevator ride.

The game is a pen-and-paper roleplaying game, of the kind you play with friends around a table conquered by geek paraphernalia: many-sided dice, soda, dragon-shaped corkscrew, etc. The players tell the stories of their characters. One of them, the game master, leads the game with the help of rulebooks, shielding his secrets from the players with a beautiful game screen, while his friends try not to spill coffee over their character sheets. Depending on design choices, a game master can be unnecessary.

Somewhere in the room lies a computer. It records everything that is said during the game. The software uses voice and visual recognition to identify speakers. It associates each of them to a character sheet, a profile, a history.

The software makes sense of what is said. It writes down the story of the recorded game along with relevant context, both internally and in regard to the game world. The software anonymizes the story and adds it to the unified online repository of the game. Personal data, including the audio files, can be saved on site, while the story with the names of the characters is uploaded. Should they choose to do so, the players can edit their content before the uploading. All players of the game share a setting and contribute to a common corpus of background and adventure material.

At any moment, players can ask the computer about previous events, background information or unexpected events. They can search using vocal or textual queries. The computer can also initiate the interaction: when certain conditions are met while a game is being recorded, such as when specific words are pronounced or when specific situations happen in the game, the computer requests the attention of the players (with light, sound and/or text). The software is programmed not to disrupt the flow of the game. The players can set parameters to disallow suggestions of content or to agree to a large degree of interaction.
If authorized, the computer provides content with voice, other sounds, texts and/or graphics. The content it delivers is relevant to the characters' adventures: a description of the inn they enter, an earthquake in the city where they stand, etc.

Players can rate downloaded content to promote it or advise against using it. They can also define how much they wish to contribute: they can forbid their characters and content from being used by other players. Software identifies when user-created content is re-used by other players, and grades it accordingly. Clearly advertised algorithmic rules are put in place server-side to deal with content that is not deemed relevant. For example, the software counts the points of connection between the user content and published background. Completely unthematic content is not pushed to other players, though it remains highlighted for its creators.

Players can order books on demand. Stories of the adventures of their characters typically constitute the bulk of these books, which makes them unique. The books can be tailored with great finesse and little to no human supervision. They serve as source material and as albums of sentimental value with their tales of glorious feats and funny anecdotes. The players can also download enhanced character sheets before each instance of the game.

The game developer acts as a top-level curator for the community. He peruses automatically preselected user-created content and highlights the one he believes worthier of attention. He edits books about topics of interest. These books can be further personalized by players.

The business model of the game relies on a fee to connect to the server. Uploading content that ends up being valued by the community entitles to a lower fee, down to the point when the user gets rewarded (e.g. with books).
The game is also part of a larger ecosystem: it is a object of experiences and a proof of concept for innovative collaboration in a professional environment, which can lead to the licensing of the solution.

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