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December 01, 2010

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In a single-player game, this strategic management/tactical execution split is what made X-Com work; each aspect both deriving meaning from, and delivering meaning to, the other. (It could even work in tag-team multiplayer, one person handling each aspect. This created some interesting social dynamics in practice if one side let the team down in some manner. :) )

I'm interested to know if you see any parallels between this theme and CCP's future attempts at linking the existing EVE online universe (complex gameplay spaceship MMO) with their upcoming game Dust 514 (FPS in the EVE universe)?

Kudos on tackling this tricky problem. I'd love to chat with you about it at the monthly meeting.

I'm not sure it's as much a Gordian Knot as you make it out to be. Or as wicked a problem as convergence culture and game balancing is (see multiple MMOs). In practice, as L4D did, you just make really clear to the players where you draw the AI line - the AI controls enemy spawns and nothing else. In fact, we cross this line all the time (auto-aim in FPS shooters, for example), just usually for the purpose of gameplay or controls rather then the explicit goal of narrative.

I wonder if you could create a thin lie for the player, convinced that the AI controls only one small aspect (such as the spawns) when it really has a hand in much more.

Lying seems to be less desirable, but the truth can (and often does) lead to those in the know gaming the system and cutting the chance of drama to bits.

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