Last night I had one of those brainstormy nights, where you come up with great idea after great idea after great idea. Unfortunately, none of those ideas include "sleep", so I'm pretty damn tired today.
Still, I'll do my best to explain one of these ideas, which is a clarification of how to use 3D representation and game design to create an interactive non-game experience for the purposes of telling people stuff. I also thought up a really great way to simulate romance in games (not sex: romance). I think it's astoundingly awesome, but it's not something I want to show off until I've verified that it works.
Ahem. 3D representation and game design.
Actually, this post will just limit itself to adaptive game design. I've got things to do, and you've got more interesting blogs to read. 3D representation will come later. I came up with this idea long ago, and I even have the algorithm to support it with... but it's still untested.
Presumably, you all read books, at least on occasion. You've probably noticed that sometimes you don't feel like reading a book, sometimes you do. Moreover, sometimes you feel like reading, say, Asimov. Other times, you might be in a Piers Anthony mood. Still other times, you might feel like tackling a textbook or a magazine. A given book can't be all those things without being really irritating... but why do games limit themselves to one particular mood/genre?
The thing that software can do which they presently don't is adapt to the mood of the player. Some people are making forays, but they're hideous mockeries - like Yahoo's "MindUnSet" system. Defining several different "moods" for your game or software might take quite a bit of added time, but with the middleware explosion, costs in both time and money are going to drop for us indies.
In addition, it's easy to tell what the memetic landscape of the player is. For example, it's generally pretty easy to tell what the player's favorite characters are, and from that establish a meme. I tend to pick the cute girls for my initial run of a game, and drop them only if they prove to be useless. It's pretty easy for a game to determine what one of my interests is from that. I hate mascot characters - I kill them and leave them dead, even if it makes the game phenominally hard. Again, you can clearly see my memetic landscape.
A game could easily adjust to that memetic landscape, either pandering to or educating the player. You could easily explore social concepts such as equal rights, communism, gift cultures, and a thousand other concepts this way. Or you can just pander to their already existing interests. But you can't do it with a nonadaptive game, because you need the memetic hooks. You need to know what buttons to press to get the player interested.