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  1. Okay, I'd like to throw in one idea. Open the spoilers for several disclaimers. Imagine 1. a real-time, online Multiplayer for Dark Mod (or similar 3D-first-person-medieval-theft-style game inspired by thief) 2. every real person has an account with a virtual money balance as acquired by playing the game 3 however, if one's virtual character dies, so does the account, and then the money is gone. One can decide to start fresh with a new account though. 4. top players and their accounts are listed somewhere on the games central website, bla bla bla, so there is motivation to have a long-lived character with a lot of money So far so good (?). Now for some gameplay specifics: 5. there are maps, of course. Everyone is free to design Maps. (since availability of maps is certainly one of the bigger bottlenecks, the initiative for someone to submit a map should be rewarded, or at least not made difficult). 6. There is an official entrance for the map, where the guards enter. And then there is a (or several?) inoffical entrance(s). There thieves might enter. The map creator is responsible for making sure both types of entrances (official and inoffical) exist. (As with single-player maps, the map creator should make sure there are official and inofficial routes throughout - in other words, an interesting, explorable, thief-style map). 7. The map creator is also responsible for making some riddles, which potential thiefs must solve in order to get into the map. Riddles should be hard (only solvable with a "hacker-mentality" - think of the cognitive tasks thieves face when trying to get entrance to a complicated system) (or, metaphorically speaking - the thieves play out their own version of a cutscene before a heist - of course only in their mind, not with a video ) 8. The goal of the guards is to, well, guard a specific object (or keep thieves from achieving a certain objective) for a certain amount of time. If they succeed, they will be paid accordingly (or rather the player's accounts)). 9. Per map, there is a maximum number of guards. This number is defined by the map creator. Also, the map creator equips each guard. Before a map starts, each guard position must be filled. If more people are interested than open positions exist, there will be a competitive selection procedure (maybe one-on-one fights in a "sandbox" mode against contestants? Or a quiz how well they are familiar with the map they want to guard?) 10. Importantly, the map creator CANNOT specify routes of guards. This is up to the players playing the guards. 11. Even more importantly - the group of guards do not know when of even if thieves will appear. This should encourage patrolling-style behaviors automatically. 12. The entrance riddle of thieves should be difficult. This is the main trade-off for the lucrative prize, together with the high guards:thieves ratio. 13. Within the map, there is no chat. People (guards and thieves) should only be allowed to cooperate via game-play elements. Therefore, guards writing letters should be possible, but thieves might steal this information within the map. (maybe talking is also possible, but this should be audible in a realistic way - thieves should be careful to not raise their voices and were they want to speak) 14. When the set time for a map is done, the players may decide each time if they want to play for the guards or the thieves next time. All in all, I believe this gameplay style would offer trade-offs for each party (guards, thieves) to make it difficult for both but balanced. Going back to the disclaimer: I'm aware that the online, real-time nature of my suggestion is difficult to implement at best, impossible at worst. But then, why these specific ideas? I believe such an approach could circumvent several dangers Dark Mod is facing: - rather unrealistic/easy AI --> not an issue here, because there is no AI, only natural human intelligence. - small ratio between map playing time : map creation time (not so much an issue as maps may be reused, but the feel for the mission is kinda new each time) - this might inspire some opening up of the community to new players, or encourage people to hand in maps, with the prospect that they might be used in a real-time, MP, higher-stakes scenario. So! I think I'm ready now being torn apart by you guys
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