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Friday, July 29, 2005

Doppler, the Cabin Story Mod

After I completed the first beta of Freehold UT, one of my interests in making it more complete was flushing out various other gametypes using the same code. Since my favorite gametype was Containment, a coop game which pitted players against a horde of dangerous, infectious creatures, I wanted to do more cooperative style gameplay.

Corvus' recent discussion on story and conflict reminded me of the riff off of Containment I never finished. The basic idea was a cabin story done in a multiplayer game.

A cabin story is a kind of framework where much of the conflict comes from character interaction, but the characters are generally trapped together with some kind of really dangerous problem. The Thing is perhaps the epitome of this kind of story - characters stuck together, vicious creature loose and any one of them might be the creature. And from that idea, came Doppler.

The idea was that a squad of players would be on a map. One of them is an android doppleganger, unknown to the rest. The goal of the doppler is to kill as many of the squad as possible without being detected. The goal of the squad is to kill the doppler, but no innocent people. In some ways, it's a coop variant of the classic hunter gametypes. Scoring would follow suit - with the doppler earning a certain amount per kill, the squaddie who nails the doppler get a big bonus and anyone who kills an innocent gets a big decrease. There was to be like five rounds on one map, and the high scorer wins.

The doppler was stronger and healthier, but appeared just like another character. In fact, I think the final version I was working on had the doppler as a duplicate of the players ... the only visual clue that they had to start with. I later wanted to expand it with DNA scans and the like, but I never got it finished. I can't quite remember what the critical problem that made me pull it from the last build of Freehold UT ... but I remember it was somewhat fundamental. Since then, I've always thought it was too esoteric for an online mod.

Hard enough to get people to play mods online these days, even worse if it's something of a social experiment. Anyone wants to take a stab though, feel free.

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