Perhaps the devil doesn't like having his thermostat turned down, and has retaliated with a karmic monkeywrench tossed straight into my creative engine, as I've been largely stalled in development since shortly after writing that entry. The resulting writer's block has been downright infernal.

I have a cool enough idea about producing perpetual narrative content dynamically through the use of 4X game mechanics. It goes something like this:
  • Playing a game like Space Empires, Civilization, or Age of Wonders, I can't help but have a little story unfold in my head. These are games which simulate epic undertakings.
  • Now, imagine if we were to put the player in the middle of all that. Not as a disembodied ruler who directs the empire, but as an individual citizen within? Put another way, the players are the hero units.
  • Then, we put the game online in a persistent space shared by as many of those players-become-hero units that care to log in.
What I end up with is an open-ended 4X game that becomes a roleplaying game with dynamic content. The primarily design difference is shifting the player's locus of control and tacking on more detail on the personal level: a 4X game doesn't simulate what goes on inside of those cities or planets, but an RPG should.

Funny enough, the wikipedia entry for Lightspeed says the game actually is an RPG/4X game hybrid. I played it back in the day, and disagree. It was really more of a space simulator with frequent dialogue and a ship upgrade/trading mechanic.

Seems like a solid idea. However, the second I added the basic structure of the individual space empires, Beelzebub's fist closed about my muse and dragged it screaming to the underworld. Something's wrong, preventing me from continuing, and a week later I've yet to figure out exactly what.