while talking with the fine folks at DF and other folks on the Twitch stream playing X-Com, I wanted to know if there would be something like a genetic perk system that could also inform the gameplay. I'd like to elaborate a bit on the idea and why it seems like a good fit.
Let me back off a bit and take a look at some of the things I like X-Com or some rouge-like-likes.
Making tactical decisions in combat scenarios is great and feels fulfilling when putting me into the shoes of a great commander on the battlefield, but the great thing about titles like X-Com is the replayability through different starting points.
Within a single combat, this is typically achieved via dynamic enemy placement, procedural map generation and last, but not least - the random number generator that decides if we killed something or not.
However, the scale is still limited to what you bring with your character and in a game where the life of the individual is less important than the overall success of the entire campaign. X-Com also allows you to have characters bring different starting stats and even choose their abilities at random while leveling. This forces you to do the best with the hand you are dealt and forces players to think outside their comfort zone. This is something we typically only see via achievements these days (kill X enemies in close combat, instead of using long-range weapons all the time), but really by being forced to adapt by the game itself.
Rogue-like-likes (i.e. Dungeons of Dredmor, X-Com Iron Man mode, FTL and many more) already force you to adapt with throwing random events at you and some also start you off with random stats, abilities and items - ultimately taking some of the frustration out of failing and enforcing alternating play styles for prolonged entertainment.
Looking at Massive Chalice, it seems like a great idea to implement a set of stats that is bound to your entire family tree - essentially genes that are passed on through the generations. We already know that the parents influence the upcoming hero on a cultural level (i.e. Jobs/Classes), but wouldn't it be great if each character comes with a set of good and bad stats in different areas.
Going even further, these stats could be randomly marked as dominant or recessive phenotypes - following Mendel's experiments on genetics. The outcome could be a simply stat in-/decrease or something more sinister like genetic diseases such as haemophilia which severly impact your ability to battle or maybe a darker skintone that is beneficial during night missions...etc.
To keep things interesting, you genetic profile is generated while you start out (or if you adopt a child) and later re-evaluated following the probabilities as introduced by Mendel for each offspring. However, Darwin would also like to have a word in this and the entire process should have a fairly low probability to introduce a mutation (higher probability for disease mutation on incest - making the perfect warrior aint that simple).
But why not simply randomize the stats anyway and skip the whole phenotype thing?
Player choice, I say!
Everybody who follow Game of Thrones knows that there is a lot more involved than just love when it comes to marriages and the future of your legacy. One may marry for love, sure, but the contributing political and/or military power of the mate is important as well.
However, none if this matters much if your children suffer from genetic diseases and so the player has to consider this option as well.
Going even further, the genetic data might not be known right away and players have to develop scholars that are able to research family trees and the medical knowledge. This might also be a great opportunity for demonic knowledge to give a player an upper hand and while talking about that, who's to decide if too much knowledge may not turn into a curse that is pretty similar to a genetic disadvantage.
So let me summarize:
- Player statistics are affected by a randomized gene profile
- Each effect in the profile is either dominant or recessive
- Children inherit the profiles of their parents where the chances for getting either profile trait are based on the recessive/dominant combination
- Genetic traits should not just be number changes, but also (dis-)abilities (think Fallout perks)
- Choosing the right mate for a healthy child should become a meaningful decision amongst others
- Upgrades should bring more insight into the genetic profiles of heros via family trees
On top of that, how about trading children with friends for optimizing your gene pool.
Is it morally offensive? Hell yeah - but this is not so far from what happened in medieval times.
Please feel free to contribute your ideas
EDIT: darn, just saw the other thread - maybe a mod could move it over there?