I had a great story discussion last night with cyberse7en and he asked me a SLEW of questions about the story last night and we firmed up a lot of the more intricate details. One thing that's been a very common question I've gotten though has been about how laterals work. The way I've been describing it is if you imagine you live strictly in a 2D world -- all of your movements are on this flat XY plane. And suddenly, you come to realize that not only can you move across this plane, but you can also move up and down -- and so you move up, and you've now reached a unique point in 3D quite different from your original point, and if you explore this plane it'll be different than what it was when you were lower. Now imagine that this happens in our world, a 3D world. There isn't a time difference, but my XYZ position is also accompanied by my my lateral position, and each position on the lateral equates to an entirely new XYZ world. That's the idea we're playing around with in all of this. Just thought I'd clear that up -- Cypris doesn't exist in Praxis world, and same goes for Gathis. But an hour in each world is the same, and if you were to open a second lateral would be the same distance away as the first.
But that's not the focus for today, I want to talk about why Praxis is going to be DIFFERENT. Sure my game has a few unique ideas (simultaneous turns, shared HP bar) not explored much, and of course Praxis's game experience is going to be quite different than playing a game of Magic or a game of Elements. But the computer/mobile CCG market is becoming saturated quick (it wasn't when I started my project, but that's the woes of a single designer). So why should people check my game out over a AAA title?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has an interesting project, called hitRECord. The idea was for artists to come together in a collaborative nature, not only sharing the work they created but with the goal of people mixing it. And so one person has an idea, and another expands upon it, and then another refines a different part, etc, until you've refined a short and rough idea into a beautiful mini-production. And I thought wow that's awesome, I wonder if the gaming community could ever do that. And so here praxis falls into place: my original idea (with this virus and extracting life and this man vs machine conflict) has been evolving into what it is now (and still evolving!!) thanks to a ton of great people offering their ideas and saying "oh wow that's neat!! what if XXX?". And once the game is playable, what if the PLAYERS start pitching card ideas based off this ever-evolving story? Or even just me admitting that as a player you understand a lot of intricacies and quirks of a game at a more personal level than I ever will as a developer, so why isn't your voice worth more weight? What if instead of "no that idea sucks" or "yes that idea is good" we start talking "oh hey that's an excellent idea, what do you think if it could do XXX?" or "well half of that card is cool, but XXX is kind of lame, can we think of something a little more interesting?". What if game design wasn't just a dialogue between the designers (which at the moment is just me! I'd be talking to myself...) and rather a discussion with players? Why are you on the receiving end of the product when we have this awesome ability to include you as part of the design.
Sure you don't NEED to do any of this to enjoy the game (and most won't), but I've had about a half dozen people ALREADY start feeding me ideas. I love that. Community in a game has always been a paradigm for me, and if that community is engaged I've always felt like playing a lot more. Wouldn't it be great if we not only facilitated that community, but fostered it? I want to see player generated content in a CCG, and that's a concept that has yet to be done properly yet.
Another thing that I'm very strong about is about delivering a F2P product that doesn't follow the mold. I've thought about ways to deliver Praxis as a more front-end costed game (similar to the LCG system from FF games, most notably Netrunner). I don't want to exploit the human psyche candy crush saga style into belligerently HAVING to give me money to fuel your addiction. I want to make a quality product that people WANT to pay for to see the continued success and support the developers. Traditionally, F2P games have a large portion (sometimes 95%) funded by the top 5% of players. What if we can spread that out more? What would that take? That's what I'm going to try to do with Praxis.
A big part in this is I'm not going to have card rarities attacked to how good a card is. That is, if a card is uncommon, it would be better if it was a rare. If I do implement card rarity, it'll be more as a definition of "WOW THAT CARD SOUNDS AWESOME!" similar to how mythic rares in magic were (supposed) to be like. But in all actuality, I don't see why I should waste what costs the most money (card art) on a bunch of cards that people are going to see in packs and then immediately forget about. A lot of reason this happens is to artificially extend the life of the game -- if you received 6 random cards in a booster, you might finish your playset quite quick. But if you only REALLY care about the rare at a competitive level, you've now increased the amount of boosters you need to buy by 6 fold roughly speaking. To a lot of games this is worth the common quality. To me it's not -- I am strictly trying to avoid that kind of mentality.
Praxis might not be the most FUN or BEAUTIFUL or whatever CCG out there, but I plan to try and deliver the most memorable experience. Unlike AAA companies, this isn't my day job and I can afford to break even if it means delivering a better product. I want to make something that people go "I like what Praxis did with..." and I think with all of your help that everyone has been giving we can make that a reality.