It seems the only way one can advance a truly difficult project is to trap themselves in a mental room with it and keep hammering away. It's not exactly a pleasant experience, and naturally produces a desire to go off and do something else. However, in doing so, I've basically ironed out the core features of My Own Net Dream, so good for me:
- The game genre is a Roguelike.
As defined in Roguebasin, "a Roguelike is usually described as a free turn-based computer game with a strong focus on intricate gameplay and replayability, and an abstract world representation using ASCII-based display, as opposed to 3D graphics. Of course, as with any genre, there are deviations from the norm."
An important part for this definition for me to remember is that there's a very singular perspective. The player controls 1 (one) Player Character and that's it. No turning this into a squad-based combat game. It's a lot simpler to do than a lot of concepts I've had. In fact, it's not exaggerating overmuch to say that BYOND is built by default to do this kind of game, and not having to code around that saves an enormous amount to work.
Of course, no need for ASCII graphics when I've already an engine capable of displaying graphical tiles, but I will be using more abstraction than absolute graphical representation. I like the idea of engaging the players' imagination.
- The world is procedurally, dynamically generated.
In other words, very little of the game world exists at the start of the game. It's generated at random from a set of rules. This feature is almost a given for a roguelike.
Funny enough, just about all my designs have focused on dynamic generation of content, so this hardest part to do is also the part of the game that is closest to done.
- Secondary genre is multiplayer, online persistent state universe.
The primary reason why BYOND is a fabulous engine for this project is because it has unusually good out-of-box persistent state shared universe support.
This necessitates a deviation from the norm of a roguelike in that instead of being turn-based it is instead "real time turn-based," meaning the turns execute regardless of player input. This pacing is standard in many MMORPGs.
- The setting is Space Western.
I will probably be leaning heavily in the direction of Firefly, Outlaw Star, Cowboy Beebop more than Star Trek.
These are the parameters I'm going to try to keep through the completion of the current BYOND project.