Thursday, March 10, 2005

Finding Things

I've often
wondered what game elements might make tracking an interesting prospect.

The few hunting games I've tried seem to drop you either within sight of quarry or provide a radar or arrows directing you straight to your targets. This strikes me as much too 'game-y'.

I imagine a system where different trail signs show up as glowing traces. These could be things such as disturbed brush or droppings or even the animal's movement trail.

Maybe this system could even be leveled up with enough experience, providing more information to the tracker, revealing more signs of his elusive prey.

This could be extended to many types of games.

A detective game could have the physical gamespace offer up new clues the more information that's collected. A fruitful conversation could trigger glowing footprints leading to a buried clue. Or a smear of blood on the wall that you missed earlier. This is a similar mechanism to the adventure game staple of making important objects sparkle, but in this instance it is dependent on some sort of progression.

An RPG might have you cast as a bounty hunter. In this instance you would have to develop your character to not only track specific signs but also to tune your skills to your specific target. In this instance, filtering out extraneous noise is just as important as finding the information. Gaining items from your mark, a boot say, would keep those boot prints active - if you encountered them, they would show the mark's recent path.

Therein lies another element. Time-dependency.

Different sorts of trails have different durations. Brush trails can be followed for hours or days. A blood trail will remain for a shorter period of time, even less if it rains. A scent trail only minutes.

Part of the challenge: Trails get broken.

The use of trails would mesh into the whole system of hunting. Actually sighting the prey, listening for aural signals, masking your own movement/smell/sound, choosing baits and calls, and, y'know, killing the damn thing -- all of these and more combine together to create a total hunting experience.

Maybe even the Nuge would approve.

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