Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dream of the Ruined City

I have spent the last two nights dreaming about playing a really intriguing MMORPG. It was set in a massive, partly-ruined city; the architectural flavor was a bit old-fashioned and European. The buildings tended to top out around three or four stories, and - the night before last - the whole place had a dark, gritty feel to it. There was a large, open area of rubble, which looked like the result of a bomb or something large crashing into the city; a few streets beyond that was a large stone temple set on a hillside. Inside the temple was a progression of battles; each victory offered you a selection of new powers and abilities, until the last. If you challenged darkness at the heart of the temple, it slapped you down - hard.

Last night, I discovered that the other side of the city was cleaner, brighter, more given to white marble than grey stone. There were also heaps more character possibilities than I'd been aware of, and it was a very mix-and-match system. I don't remember the details (they seemed very clear at the time, but either that was dream-certainty or else I've lost them since then), but I have a sense that while some areas of study were contradictory, you could learn all sorts of different abilities. Over on the darker side of town, you gained power and skill by defeating things; on the light side of town, you gained power and skill by helping people.

My character had (or had adopted?) a very Victorian appearance, with a dark coat and top-hat and a cane; I have the impression that there were a lot of different looks available, not all of them belonging to the same time period.

The overall dynamic seemed to be that the dark things had taken over, or moved in to, one side of the city. Some people were fighting them back, and some were dealing with them in exchange for power, and some were doing both by turns; the balance of power was pretty delicate. I imagine - though this was not part of either dream - that there was a lot of political intrigue going on. I have no idea what the ordinary citizens were doing; the denizens of this city seemed to be mainly squatters or scavengers or survivors, as if the solid citizens had fled or died. All sorts of supplies were available, but seldom in quantity.

I have no idea where this came from, or if I'll dream about it again; if there's a game like this already, I don't know about it. (And I don't play MMORPGs at all, so the game mechanics and whatnot in the dream were all based on one-player computer RPGs.) Still... if I had a skilled development team and a couple of years to work on it, I would totally try to build this.


  1. It sounds like, aside from the costuming of the character, kind of WWI or WW2 era. The different costuming for the character from different time periods adds a time travel element to it.

    If you're serious about this as a project, then l could help you with concept/production design.

  2. Not as a computer project, though I do think it would be fun. (In some ways, it might work better as a one-player rpg: Jade Empire, Elder Scrolls, something like that.) If I do something with it, I'll work it up as a writing project. Right now, though, I don't expect to be able to have project for at least another two years. I'm basically back to trying to keep up with the little stuff.

    (Sorry for the slow response - the hospital's WiFi left a lot to be desired.)


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