Unfortunately I've had some thoughts this week that I just haven't been able to get out in post form. So I'm just going to start jotting down thoughts and ideas from the week. We'll see if any of these spark some great moment of insight and get me writing at length.
The first is body language in games. What I'm really referring to here is player body language from the game's point of view, as in where is the player, where are they facing, and what are they doing. This began with the thought of adding a wider trigger zone for players approaching a trigger while facing it, this would hopefully decrease the awkwardness for some players that being dragged into a scripted event tends to have.
My next thought was of when I'd play interactive fiction games, sometimes I'd get to the point of knowing roughly how to solve a problem, but having to guess at the verb. If this went on to long, I'd start talking to the interpreter, and not particularly being very nice about it. In this case, I was actually giving the author direct input, but there was nothing to catch that input, nothing to tell that I was obviously agitated. What if even in today's fist person and third person games there were certain behaviors common to frustrated players, to confused players, to bored players, to happy players. It would take extensive play testing, but what if we could build our games to have a more dynamic reaction to the way our players are trying to tell us they perceive them?
Switching gears, I often hear about how people will feel more satisfied with the sound of contact when striking something in WoW over some other games, WAR specifically comes to mind. While playing Mount and Blade I felt this effect as well, but it also pointed out that to me, at least, the effect needs a second layer, I also need to see that my strike was effective. When I say effective I don't mean a chip off the health bar, I mean opponents being staggered and often dieing within a couple hits. It's probably much the same reason I prefer Counterstrike's weapons over basic Half-Life weapons, that feeling of deadliness. Of course, this also ties into the fact that I find a useful historically modeled axe much more beautiful than any of the wicked looking but honestly not very damaging axes of many MMOs.
On top of all this, I've been thinking about fleets in this current space game I'm working on. Escape Velocity allowed you to hire escorts but not have a fleet afield, X series allowed fleets a field but were kind of hidden and had a rather steep learning curve, EVE allows fleets but their all players so it doesn't matter. My thought was that perhaps I could borrow the overview from Sins of a Solar Empire and use a similar process for the player to manage their own fleets. This would mean their fleets would be pretty much always there in view and would be largely interacted with through right clicking and context menus.