Monday, 24 March 2014

Trade Game - Introduction

As mentioned in my last post, I have been tinkering on a new game project in my free time. I initially started this as part of a 12 week challenge found on the Unity forums. Needless to say I failed that, somewhat due to moving house but mostly down to me not working on it enough.

The whole objective of the 12 week challenge is to get something out, in a maximum of 12 weeks. Regardless of quality. Even though after 12 weeks I could have released “something”, it would not have been a game at all. The trade mechanic worked at a very, very basic level. At that point I would rather fail the challenge than release what I had.

I didn’t give up though, as I am determined to finish this off now. I have managed to reach a point where I sank my teeth into it enough that I need to take a bite before moving on.

The Idea:

The idea for this game came from one of my favourite games of all time, Diablo 2. I spent a large part of my time on Diablo 2, online that is to say, trading with people. I loved trading and I would often find myself making heroes just to find items and trade.

As the game was quite old, trading was pretty basic, there was no talk of Auction Houses as there is today. Instead players had to meet up in games, face to face, and barter with one another. It was great as there was no market average for many items. Well there was, but what made it cool was the fact that you could always get lucky as a guy really needed an item and you could trade up. Or you could run into a newbie trading and take him for all he had. You could be a heartless cut throat trader. All in a game that didn’t really plan on trading to be a huge part of its structure.

The most fun I had whilst trading in Diablo 2 was in Hardcore. I would roll a hero. Level him to around 14-15 and then just farm chipped gems. I’d then trade these gems to high level characters who needed them for recipes and build an inventory of valuable items. Pretty soon I was a level 15 with a huge amount of awesome high level gear that I never used. 

Being able to trade up, starting out from nothing (unless I got really lucky with drops) was awesome. And I have yet to find a game that does trading in the same way. Sure there are items on other games that low levels can find and trade. But everything is done over an auction system these days. There’s very little interaction or bartering. There is very little room for user bias when it comes to trading these days due to everyone knowing the value of the items they have.

These days it’s pretty rare to trade multiple items for one valuable one. For example in Diablo 2 LoD, I had a very rare set of armour (IK armour for any vets). I went into the trade channel and spammed my offer and had one user who wanted the armour so badly he offered a catalog of items. None of these items were anywhere near as valuable but he kept going. He was willing to part with 20 items of average value for the armour. In todays auction systems it is not possible to trade multiple items for fewer items. Everything is done with a common denominator (i.e. Currency).

So with this is mind, I figured I’d do what indies do when they have a mechanic they love and can’t find it in a modern game. I am going to attempt to make a game that tries to mimic what I loved about trading in Diablo 2.

So let’s get to it! Before we could focus on the trading mechanics, we had to take care of something else first. Starting from scratch, we needed a basic world to trade in.

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