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Author Topic: The Big Sandbox  (Read 7699 times)

PTTG

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The Big Sandbox
« on: March 14, 2012, 02:07:35 pm »

I'm not sure if everyone here is familiar with a game called Garry's Mod. In brief, it is a powerful and flexible (if very buggy and obtuse) game built for the Half-Life 2 engine. It is in essence a physics toy; players can create objects, snap them together in any orientation, and add motors or constraints. However, what is notable about Garry's Mod is that it is designed to be easily scripted by players, with additional maps and objects, mini-games, tools and rules, and other content essential to the enjoyment of the game. Users have even created elaborate multiplayer adventures using these scripts- for instance, a game where they build spaceships with detailed wiring and life-support, and one which is a faithful and detailed multiplayer RPG.

After that introduction, you no doubt suspect that I'm going to ask for nothing less than a planet-scale physics simulator. I won't pretend that wouldn't be fun... but there are more interesting features I'd like to take from Garry's Mod.

I imagine a game that is effectively a giant sandbox. Something somewhat like what Anteworld is now insomuch as the user can draw roads and place objects, with the ability to download content as is apparently planned.

More than simply spawning static items, the game would have the following features:
- Rather than open pollination, a content browser. Players would be able to select mods (such as chunks of terrain built up into a city) from a huge catalog with ratings, ranking, tags, all the accoutrements of an easy-to-use database.

- Other kinds of content: In addition to explicitly changing the terrain, mods could exist that would add new items to the list of objects you can create in the sandbox (for instance, a player could make an animated, drivable fire truck). Other things mods could include would be changes to existing items (making the Apache have friable weapons), changes to the way the game functions (reducing gravity), and most importantly adding or modifying procedural generators (making buildings get placed in applicable flat areas next to roads, or replacing all trees with dead trees), as well as mods simply changing aesthetics or combining other mods together (For instance one that adds buildings, kills all the trees, and has fire trucks driving around for you to shoot with the Apache).

- Ideally, but not necessarily, the possibility to have mods host different streaming content- for instance, allowing a Mars Mod or Middle Earth Mod to connect to its own server or peer-to-peer network for terrain data. Perhaps even different procedural code could exist. This has all been discussed as features for Outerra in general, but in this case applies to making these changes be accessible from a modding perspective.

- Basic "seed" content. In Garry's Mod, this is sourced from Half Life (thus why the main tool used to manipulate objects is a clone of the Gravity Gun). This sand planet game would need enough content for players to start out and in essence get ideas for better content they make themselves. Things with a unique but understated uniform style, such as the current truck which is a tame workhorse sci-fi that really fits in almost anywhere, would be good. Also required would be basic rules that virtually every game might require (a first-person avatar, possibly with a "noclip" mode, with health, weapons, ect.).
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 04:48:24 pm by PTTG »
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ZeosPantera

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Re: The Big Sandbox
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 11:45:38 pm »

I brought this up a long long LONG time ago. But I like your specific ideas. My biggest issue with current Gmod is the map size limitations (no point in building a plane if you only have a square mile to use it)
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Eco

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Re: The Big Sandbox
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 09:14:57 pm »

off:First post on this forum after reading some topics...
on: A earth-sized sandbox would be a lot of fun! But I prefer something like this


Quote
More than simply spawning static items, the game would have the following features:
- Rather than open pollination, a content browser. Players would be able to select mods (such as chunks of terrain built up into a city) from a huge catalog with ratings, ranking, tags, all the accoutrements of an easy-to-use database.

I think a huge catalog with props with rakings, tags, etc, would be perfect but I think, such as in Gmod that user shouldn't be able to modify the terrain of the map, atleast not ingame. Gmod is a very entertaining game because it has a vast variety of options and it's pretty easy to do anything, if people wanted to make a complex contraption that involved modelling and editing terrain, they would do their own game. If someone made something like a Outerra Gmod, I would recommend him to start with a basic catalog of objects (such as these from the PHX pack in Gmod), some random furnitures, etc.

Most of the tools in Gmod are controlled using specific stools (weapons) and that makes building things sometimes easier but also harder at some point, so it would be nice if there was like a 1st person / free mode camera switch so you can build either using a weapon or using the mouse normally.

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