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  1. #1

    Your Dream Simulation or Sandbox

    I feel like I've read a thread in these forums with nearly the same topic, but I think enough time has passed for some fresh ideas to pop up. I think the extreme popularity of Minecraft really ignited a lot of imaginations, and with games like Day Z finally rolling out, I don't think it'd be inaccurate to predict a sort of golden age for sandbox survival games.

    I bring this up partly because I'm nearing the completion of my first project and have begun thinking about my next one: a virtual ecosystem set in prehistoric Africa, in which warring tribes compete for resources and land. A great deal of my time will be spent on simulating real flora and fauna of the savannah biome. I love animals, and I love the idea of evolution by natural selection. To be able to realistically model an animal's behavior as it interacts with other animals and its environment would fill me with incredible satisfaction, and I look forward to fully fleshing out this idea in the coming years.

    The player would assume the role of a single tribesman (or woman) with the ability to switch control to any member of the same tribe as long as they are within close proximity. The goal would be to explore, survive, and expand. Likely in first person.

    What simulation setting would most excite you? Dinosaurs? Alien worlds? Railroads?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    I'd like the perhaps most basic version: the movie Into the Wild. Just surviving on your own in the wild. It's possible to encounter other players, but it's rare. Like, really rare. Find food, drinkable water, shelter, etc. Ideally, it should be truly real time. By that I mean that when it's 4 pm on 16 October in real life, it is the same time in the game. Needs good animal AI.

    I'd also like to see a certain amount of randomness in character and world creation. The player shouldn't choose which attributes to have, but have to accept the person that he/she is given. The same goes for starting equipment. A source of water that's good in one game can be polluted in the next, etc. Preferably, the entire world should be randomly generated, but that's probably not realistic for a while.

    I'm thinking the ArmA III-engine once that arrives.

    I have a document where this idea is more developed, but that would take too much room. I strongly advice anyone to have a general idea document for thoughts like this, as it's good fun.

  3. #3
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    I almost hate to say it but I think The Sims is my ideal sandbox because it's subject matter I'm familiar with. A better Sims, less focused on consumerism, would be great but I love that game as-is.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinhardt View Post
    a virtual ecosystem set in prehistoric Africa, in which warring tribes compete for resources and land.
    That sounds awesome! You've just made me realise I could really get behind the idea of survival as a group as much as survival a lone wolf type figure.

    It'd make an individual's untimely death really affecting - "Damn that guy was my best animal-skinner!" and the death of children even more so "Damn I was training that young'un to be the best damn animal-skinner yet!"

    And natural selection yes yes yes.


    My dream simulation/sandbox is just one in which you can wreck the place. That's the biggest thing I want: if I'm not careful, I could destroy this fragile world. (Or, heck: If I'm devious, I could destroy this puny world!)
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Oh, and while I wouldn't primarily categorize it as a sandbox survival game: CK2. That had actually been a dream of mine for several years. I never knew about CK1.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    A game like Black and White, but you progress through eras of time until modern times, but can possess anyone in the city and wander around GTA style.

    And also destroy stuff and climb in the wreckage.

  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node Timofee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinhardt View Post
    I love animals...the idea...fill me with incredible satisfaction
    You should be glad you're not a celebrity otherwise that out of context quote would be doing the rounds ;P

    Your idea sounds really interesting although for me I think I'd prefer to have control of the whole tribe in a Sims esque way - i.e. they will do stuff on their own but you can issue them all orders if you want. Or throw in co-op play and I'm sold.

    Personally I love the idea of a crashed space ship crew stranded on an alien world and having to guide them as they first jury rig salvaged equipment from their ship to create a makeshift camp and then as they explore outwards and uncover strange wildlife. Gradually they would establish a full settlement with their aims perhaps being to establish contact with their people or perhaps hold out knowing that a search will be sent out in 6 months.

    If you wanted to make it a bit more tightly scripted you could even throw in the classic storyline of a traitor in their midst who is eventually uncovered / beaten only to reveal the larger threat of some dark secret on the planet. Once rescue arrives it could even play on the melancholy of leaving a place they had come to regard as home.

    I also think there's a lot of mileage in the idea Spore had about using other peoples creations to populate these worlds, while that turned into a giant penis contest I think with sufficient moderation it could work really well. I'm not necessarily even thinking creatures, they could be created and animated by the dev but structures are ripe for user generated content, particularly if well tagged so users could customize their experience e.g. dont give me medieval structures

    Its actually something I'm surprised minecraft hasn't done. With all these amazing creations people could upload the 128 by 128 square that encompasses their amazing tower or whatever and then its moderated, approved and then will occasionally be streamed into the procedurally generated worlds that users are exploring.

  8. #8
    Honestly, Spore done better would probably be my favorite game ever.

    As it stands, it was an enormous disappointment.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    I wrote a big long article about this a while back (which was kindly linked in Sunday Papers), but I'd like to see a god-sim; less about moving terrain about and more about influencing cultures and inspiring people to create (and destroy) in your name.

    Spore was a game I touched on heavily, shame it was so bad.
    Last edited by Jockie; 13-06-2012 at 10:17 PM.
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  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Cooper's Avatar
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    A decent survival game based around player vs environment (as much as player vs. monsters). Something like Fallout 3's "Real Time Settler Mod" but with more depth.
    Quote Originally Posted by CROCONOUGHTKEY
    KING GEORGE IS A FROG
    le BANG~__-MICHEAL FUCK OFF~~__-INTERPOL KNOW YOU WELLBIENG~—
    OFF
    NOT RUSHMORE MOUNTAIN
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Vexing Vision's Avatar
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    I want to play in a procedurally generated world that moves on without me, and I want to be able to play whatever I wish - soldier, general, mighty wizard or farmer staying home.

    So, a cross-over between Mount & Blade, Avernum, Daggerfall, the Sims and Dwarf Fortress' world and history generation.
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  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node Feldspar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jockie View Post
    ...but I'd like to see a god-sim less about moving terrain about...
    I read this as a godless sim about moving terrain, which sounds a little strange but you could call it "The hills are alive...".

    On topic - I'd love a remake/update of Chris Sawyer's Locomotion to cope with modern resolutions and stuff. As for something you could walk about it, I'd like to see a sci-fi GTA type of affair, with less emphasis on randomly killing people (or at least some consequence.

  13. #13
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    I quite enjoyed Spore but I'd never call it a simulator.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feldspar View Post
    I read this as a godless sim about moving terrain, which sounds a little strange but you could call it "The hills are alive..."
    That is really bizarre, I read it as god-less sim as well and didn't even realize my error until your post.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  15. #15
    A GTA style sci-fi game. One of the ideas I had in mind would be GTA/L.A. Noire set in the world of Blade Runner, playing as a replicant, your main goal being to avoid detection in a world where your very existence is illegal, or on the opposite side as a Blade Runner with your goal being to hunt down this particular replicant in a massive city.

    That, or Red Dead Redemption set in Meiji period Japan, playing as a ronin. You could master different weapons and styles as you wander around, seek employment with a new clan, become a bandit, work as a mercenary, join the Yakuza, etc. There are so many great old samurai films set in this time period that would be amazing to play through as missions or just loose objectives.

    Love the OP's idea as well.

  16. #16
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    An actual open world version of the Dark/Demon Souls template, with a dash of decision making and consequences, some faction hoohah, the ability to get around the scenery like Uncharted/GodofWar/Tombraider, and none of Skyrim's horrendous glitchyness.

    Sounds utterly life consuming :|

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    An accurate real-time simulation of the human body. Make any body type you want. Have it age. Peel away the skin or organs etc. and watch how the rest works while doing mundane tasks. Torture it. Make it sick. The software I imagine is like a cross between the Euphoria tech-demos and The Sims.

    Not sure if I'll ever kill somebody IRL but I'm fascinated by the human body in games.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    I've put in a semi-colon!

    I'd play any game expanding on the Dark/Demon Souls mechanics in a meaningful way really.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mickygor's Avatar
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    If anyone's read it, I'd love love love a sandbox akin to Alistair Reynold's Pushing Ice.
    Itsbastiat, Dawngate
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    An accurate real-time simulation of the human body.
    You could probably just sum that up as "cells do stuff in repeating cycle" for the most part. You'd get bored pretty quick. But while I doubt it'd make an interesting game, it would make a decent educational tool to have actual controlled animation to see how the body reacts in various ways. It's one thing to explain to people how anaphylactic shock results, but another to actually let them influence it and watch it.


    Honestly, my idea sandbox game is Science Spore. I wanted to actually take something from a single cell up to a space-faring race with a galaxy that wasn't under constant random pirate attack and actually had nebulae and shit that mattered. But at the same time Science Spore was extremely unfocused and it was never clear how it fit together as an actual game so it doesn't surprise me that we're all disappointed.

    Also, I'd like a Freelancer Done Right. The closest to which appears to be Evochron Mercenary, but it lacks Freelancer's slick interface and interesting game world. X3's interface is abysmal and the mechanics are far too opaque at times, plus the gameworld looks bad in that each sector is just a bunch of stations and ships, there are no 'features' anywhere. Freelancer was let down by its static economy, boring side missions, and inability to group in fleets. But it absolutely nailed the exploration aspect and the interface.

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